Yeah . . . I went there, I’m adding to the buzz ad nausea of this latest global craze but instead of being my normal judgy mcjudgerson on what is popular, this one I’m kind of endorsing?? Instead of yelling at the kids to GET OFF MY LAWN!! Let me try and be a bit open minded here. RELAX! Let me explain.
Disclaimer: I’ve never watched Pokemon, never collected a single card, my kids never did. I downloaded the app. for about 12 hours and then deleted it. I caught one squirtle in my backyard but my 14 hr. old had no interest in it so I deleted it. I’m now again unhip, irrelevant and uncool, but that’s a comfortable space for me.
Here’s 4 things I do love about the Pokemon Go phenomenon:
- Kids, teens and young adults are outside walking around – Sure, they are staring deep into their phones and perhaps not being completely aware of their surroundings, BUT they are not sitting inside on couches eating chips and soaking in unnatural lighting. They are outside soaking up Vitamin D and Serotonin, maybe they won’t need as many anti-depressant or ADD drugs. Just being outside and moving does wonders for our physiological make-up, it sure does for me.
- Families are doing something fun together – Yeah, my 14 yr. old son had zero interest going hunting with me but that seems to be a rare instance. I’m seeing in my community and all around Facebook, parents and kids doing something fun together. Our cultural stories recently have been so dark and violent, we needed something for families to do together. You know the age-old saying: The Family that hunts ‘Charizard’ together, stays together.
- Millenials are solving problems – I’ve been guilty of being one of the old curmudgeon (Gen X’er) accusing the millenial generation of being entitled and not contributing their fair share to our culture’s woes. But, as an educator, I’m a huge fan of ‘play’ as a means of engaging our minds and bodies in problem solving. We are not robots, the industrial world of the utilitarian drone is not our reality. Our world is complex and diverse, we need creative problem solving to do something about it. Something as simple as Pokemon Go has an entire generation using ‘play’ towards problem-solving. I am all for it. Working together, networking, sharing resources, solving problems; these are the bedrock skills for world-changers. Once those brain neurons are firing off, who knows what else they could find to tackle next. Confidence and a sense of accomplishment creates great personal momentum. We all need the Millenials to be a ‘kick a$$’ generation, I’m holding out hope yet.
- It’s Clean and Innocent – This is a relative argument and surely there are some on my readership far more conservative than me and will accuse it all of being the spawn of Satan, but in my relatively acute opinion, it’s clean and innocent play. Let’s be real, the other options at the fingertips of the same generation is 1st person shooter games, gory role playing games and internet pornography. Squirtles, Weedles and Jigglypuffs harken back to a more innocent time in American culture, we could use a little of it for our kids to grow up in.
So I’m sorry for getting on board with it all. Though I’m not actively hunting, I’m cheering on those of you who are from the sidelines. Happy Hunting my friends, may the Pikachu of your dreams be just around the next corner!