I’ve been watching the news a lot lately. Partly because I’ve taken a more active interest in politics, and partly because it’s always on when I’m doing a cheeky 7am gym session. This morning while I was doing my thing, blasting a good old Spotify playlist, I noticed that they were talking about the game that has taken the world by storm: Pokémon Go. Immediately I was intrigued, having downloaded it a few days ago (living in the middle of a Welsh valley is no fun in this game). However, the news report was basically a bunch of middle aged adults talking about how dangerous it is and how it’s terrible.
Instantly, I was angry. I’m not going to deny the fact that some people have got themselves injured or killed thanks to this game- but then again, is it totally due to the game? I’m sure the exact same thing could have happened whilst scrolling through Twitter, or Snapchatting the rare moment you were outside, or using literally any other phone app. Then again, if there’s something that kids and teens are obsessed with, it seems like adults like to find a way to crap all over it.
I was born in a time where technology and video games were new, computers were still giant cubes and iPhones weren’t even fathomed. My time was equally divided between playing outside with my older brother and playing computer games.
Now here’s the thing. Not only are there the violent shooting games that parents seem to use to drag down the whole franchise, but the educational and puzzle games that I grew up with. I learned German, Mental Maths, Spelling, and so much more thanks to those weird games with terrible graphics. Granted, I also spent many an hour playing Lara Croft and Spyro, but there’s level of critical thinking needed for video games that a book won’t hand to you on a plate. Some video games have a story so complex that it’s more thought provoking than a book. People who have played Undertale will know how emotionally attached you get to the characters even though the controls and the art are so simple. People who have played Portal will know how you need to think outside the box in order to progress. Even people who have played the freaking Lego Games, will have learned that different people have different skills and you can’t always do the best job alone. People jump to conclusions just because people have got addicted so quickly.
Were there not things you were obsessed with as a child? So many kids my age grew up dreaming of being a Pokémon trainer after watching the TV Series. So many kids now want to be the very best like no one ever was, and now all our dreams can be a sort-of reality. This is something that has taken the world by storm for good reason.
Can we also mention how kids are actually leaving the house and exploring their local area? Sure it’s probably only to catch that rare Ditto or Mewtwo, but the Pokéstops they find provide information about the various statues and rivers so they still have an opportunity to learn about what’s always surrounded them. This game has done something parents always struggle to do, and maybe that’s why they’re so quick to judge it.
Then again, it doesn’t help that very young children already have iPhones and other smartphones. Also, young children wouldn’t be exposed to this and more violent video games if parents aren’t aware of what they’re looking at online. If you don’t want your child to play violent video games, don’t buy them for them, and don’t play them when they’re in the house. If you’re worried about your child being run over at the age of ten, make sure they know about road safety, and make sure that they are on a pavement and not blocking other peoples’ paths before they add that Charizard to their collection.
If so many people are addicted to it, there’s got to be a reason for it. Right?