Over the last few days, Pokemon Go fever has swept the country. My kids are regular Pokemon fans, they collect the cards. They play the Nintendo 3DS games. And while they usually love all things Pokemon, we are NOT fans of Pokemon Go. The game raises too many red flags for me. As I posted to my personal Facebook page…
Here’s the thing I get that parents need to monitor their children and players need to make smart choices
Why is this app putting Pokemon in places it’s not safe or legal to be…. the ocean, abandoned buildings?
Who controls where the Pokemon are? It’s not safe for developers to put players in danger. It’s not safe if predators can use this app to lure victims.
What about our local police? Yes, some are having fun with it. But their resources now need to be used to monitor more activity than they typically would. Their surveillance now has to include Pokemon players and those who would do the players harm.
I understand Pokemon Go is helping families get out and play together, but I think there is a better, safer way…. geocaching.
What is Geocaching?
Geocaching uses an app for a real world, outdoor treasure hunting game with any GPS-enabled devices. Families make their way to a specific set of GPS coordinates and then try to find the geocache treasure hidden at that location. Typically it’s in some kind of container, but the type can differ from location to location. We think these two videos will help you learn more about geocaching.
This video with kids explaining geocaching is adorable.
What is Pokemon Go?
Pokémon GO is built on Niantic’s Real World Gaming Platform and is an app that uses real locations to encourage players to search far and wide in the real world to discover Pokémon.
8 Reasons Geocaching is Better Than Pokemon Go
- Trespassing not required. Geocaching has a system in place for reviewing that caches are in safe, appropriate locations. While players can create caches, each cache that is submitted to Geocaching.com is reviewed by a volunteer to ensure that the cache meets the Geocaching Listing Guidelines. Geocaching spots are not on people’s front lawns or on private property (unless the property owner has given permission.) As of right now, little is known about how the locations are selected for Pokemon Go.
- No rush, no need to collect Pokemon at night. With geocaching the caches are at their location permanently. There is no need to go out after dark to find them. Caches are at their location 24 hours a day.
- No crazy data usage. Since geocaching is not a gaming app; it does not require the amount of data or resources to run it as Pokemon Go does. In fact you could print out the directions to get to a cache.
- Geocaching can spark some funny conversations. While geocaching, the idea is to be stealthy looking for the cache. So as a friend put it, you and someone else might be looking for the cache at the same time without saying so. The result can be a funny conversation as you try to determine if another player is looking for the same treasure. With Pokemon Go, everyone’s got their device and is clearly looking for a Pokemon.
- No data collecting, no tracking your movements. With geocaching, you visit geocaching.com. Sign up for a free membership. Then you can search the site for geocache locations. Then, use your car gps or any portable GPS device to locate the cache or print out directions using an online mapping app. You don’t need to be actively logged into a game or app.
- No drain on the resources of our first responders. No large crowds. Yes, Pokemon Go is the latest craze and with that comes some potential dangers. Crowds are gathering in parks after dark. Some players are on private property or at closed locations. Others have been the victims of crimes while playing or injured themselves. Those potential dangers, those incidents require our police officers and emts to respond. It’s a drain on first responders at a time when there are more pressing issues. Yes, if you aren’t careful you can get hurt while hiking or searching for a cache, but the risk is much lower and there is not the risk of larger crowds as there is with Pokemon Go.
- Find REAL treasure. Leave a treasure. With geocaching there should always be a cache to find in the container. Is it something you want to keep? If so, then leave a treasure for the next person. Those are the geocaching rules. There should always be something for the next player to discover.
- Leave a mark. Tell a story. With each geocaching find, you log your name in a journal at the site. You can do the same online. Just leave your name or tell the story of your adventure to the spot. With Pokemon Go..there’s no story to leave behind, no journals. It’s just a virtual Pokemon.
As you plan out your family’s summer adventures, consider geocaching. We’d love to hear about the treasures you find.
What do you think? Tell us about your geocaching and Pokemon Go experiences. Do you have a reason to add to our list?