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Why ‘Pokemon Go’ Is So Great For Kids

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For some people, to see anyone, let alone a child, with their eyes glued to their phones is an infuriating sight and “Pokemon Go” — latest and most addictive game right now — is making that sight far more common. But, instead of this happening when friends are out to dinner or even just on the couch at home, it’s happening outside as people are walking around. That, and many more reasons, is why “Pokemon Go” is so great for kids. If your child is just as addicted to the newly released digital scavenger hunt game as the rest of the country right now, there are actually quite a few perks the game offers, other than collecting cute cartoon monsters.

The object of “Pokemon Go” is simple, but there’s still a lot going on that encourages lots of activity and active thinking. To play the game you need to physically walk around your town or city and look for Pokemon in real-life locations by using GPS tracking — such as parks, schools, restaurants, and malls — and catch as many as you can. “Pokemon Go” is suggested for users who are nine and older, but the game can surely be played by little ones as long as they very familiar “safety rules” or are supervised while they walk around and find Pokemon.

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AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND - JULY 13: Elaine Chung (R) says Pokemon Go is a great way to bond with her son Samuel (L) as they search on the summit of Mount Eden on July 13, 2016 in Auckland, New Zealand. The augmented reality app requires players to look for Pokemon in their immediate surroundings with the use of GPS and internet services turning the whole world into a Pokemon region map. The hugely popular app has seen Nintendo shares soar following its limited release in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand on July 6. (Photo by Fiona Goodall/Getty Images)

Too much gaming can definitely alarm or annoy any parent, but here are four reasons why "Pokemon Go" is actually pretty great for kids:

It Forces Kids To Get Some Exercise

“Pokemon Go” has been receiving praise from health experts for being able to do what video games haven’t done before — get players outside and exercising as a completely unintended side perk, rather than having them glued to a computer chair.

"For a long time, the advances in technology have promoted reduced physical activity and increased time in sedentary behavior, which comes with well-known health risk," according to an interview by Live Science with Thomas Graham, assistant professor of psychiatry and human behavior at the Miriam Hospital’s Weight Control and Diabetes Research Center. "It's nice to see technology changing and being used in a way that promotes physical activity.”

It Helps People Get Out Of The House & Make Friends

“Pokemon Go” is making is possible for total strangers to become friends and bond over something that’s interactive and goal orientated. Of course, meeting and chatting with strangers is much different for kids and teens. But, as long as kids know certain boundaries and safety rules to follow, “Pokemon Go” does provides an outlet for introverts to mingle and meet new people.

According to gaming review website Polygon, some people who play the game say the best part about going out to catch Pokemon is meeting other Pokemon enthusiasts and becoming friends. "As a very shy, introverted person it's amazing that this game can bring together people," one Reddit user wrote about the game’s benefits.

It’s Beneficial For Kids With Autism

One mother, Lenore Koppelman, was ecstatic by the unexpected benefits “Pokemon Go” had for her six-year-old son with autism and shared her son’s experience on Facebook.  

“MY AUTISTIC CHILD IS SOCIALIZING,” Koppelman wrote in a Facebook post on July 12. “Talking to people. Smiling at people. Verbalizing. Participating in pragmatic speech. With total strangers. Looking up at them. Sometimes even in the eye. Laughing with them. Sharing something in common. This is AMAZING.”

More parents have reported the benefits the app has for their children. Parents with autistic children have been praising the game for getting their kids to socialize because it encourages interaction. It also pushes autistic kids to break up their routines and get out of the house while providing an opportunity for kids to bond and strengthen friendships.

It Teaches Americans The Metric System Without Them Knowing It

Walking is a big part of "Pokemon Go" and the game follows the metric system, like the majority of the world.  

To hatch a Pokemon egg you need walk two kilometers, but to hatch a rarer Pokemon egg users need to walk five kilometers. The more you walk, the faster you hatch your eggs and ultimately stop at more Pokestops and collect more Pokemon. Win, win, win.

Americans don't typically use the metric system and the game has been secretly teaching it to them. According to Google Trends, the phrase "how far is 2km" and "how far is 5km" skyrocketed after the game was released in the United States.

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Plenty of video games keep players indoors and are typically played solo or with just one other player. "Pokemon Go" has broken a lot of the barriers that usually happen when kids play video games, so go out and catch 'em all with your kid because it's actually a lot of fun — even for grown ups.