Parents: Just Say NO to Pokemon Go!

Pokemon Go is sweeping the nation. Millions of kids and adults are wandering around town staring at their phones (even more than usual) trying to capture Pokemon monsters, or something. Parents are thrilled that kids are out walking the neighborhood instead of sitting in front of a screen (although one could argue that only the location has changed). And who am I to stand in the way of kids getting out and walking? Satire sites are having a heyday with the new app, skewering Twitter posters who have sore legs for the first time in years from accidentally getting exercise. Seems harmless, even useful, right?
And so I downloaded it. I gave in to the peer pressure from every radio station DJ who said I had to have it. My kids don’t have phones, but I thought maybe I would let them use my phone when we were out and about to capture a few Pokemon critters. And shortly after installing it, I came to my senses. The app wants total control over my camera, my video, my GPS, my Google account, my emails, my photos, my soul and God knows what else.
Why are we all voluntarily signing up to be tracked everywhere we go? Not only are we laying bare our every move to who knows who, but this is every pedophile’s dream come true. Already teens are being lured into abandoned parking lots, where they are then robbed. Other outlets are reporting zombie-like people, not paying attention to anything but their phones, wandering onto private property without realizing it, blocking driveways and scaring people. (In Texas, Missouri, Arizona and anywhere else with castle laws, this could be a deadly activity since homeowners have the right to use deadly force on trespassers.)

Kids don’t need Pokemon Go to get exercise because they should be spending their days up trees and at the beach and hiking in the woods. What happened to limiting screen time as much as possible? It’s not good for human brains! Study after study shows this is true. Electronics interfere with sleep cycles, are connected to depression, and contribute to the general malaise plaguing children who can’t seem to get off the couch. Have parents abandoned their inherent distrust of screens? When did that happen? Now, the newest electronic craze seems sure to send your child directly into harm’s way. If you still think Pokemon is a must have for this summer, think again.
Do your kids a favor and give them a 1985-style summer. Drink out of the hose, ride your bike just for the pleasure of the wind in your face, and leave the phones at home.