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As an SEO Expert residing in the Portland, Or area I was just as excited as the next digital marketer about the marketing potential for businesses with the APP recently released called Pokemon Go. As a certified foster parent in Washington county, Oregon you get trained to see the world from a different, often grim place as we are taught about what some of our societies children face at the hands of some of this worlds most heinous offenders.
“Pokémon GO” is a cleverly developed adaptation of the original TV show (“Pokémon”). This TV show was watched by millions of boys and girls who chose to purchase the collector game cards, play the games on their consoles, and seek out memorabilia. After about a decade “Pokémon” was no longer a significant trend and “Nintendo” was experiencing some harsh times. This lead to the development of a APP residing on phones where boys and girls of all ages run around at all hours of the night seeking wild “Pokémon” creatures. At first one may see the game as a dream come true, but everyone especially parents should be aware of the hidden dangers of “Pokémon GO.”
“How Does It Work?”
The first step for parents or any concerned authority is to understand the goal of the game. At the heart of the game is the task to “collect” as many wild “Pokemon” as possible. The more you are able to find the better you do. Unlike other games that find our children being stationary in front of their devices for hours at a time this one requires and encourages its players to travel in order to find these elusive Pokemon creatures. Pokemon Go immerses its players into a quasi fantasy world that leads players on a quest throughout your home, your front door, your street, your neighborhood, your town, your city and even across the world in order to find the next creature.
This means that millions of people are getting to their feet and walking like they never have before, it also means that parents may need to take into consideration exactly where their young Pokemon Go players might find themselves at the end of today’s Pokemon hunt,
The idea of leaving your home to play a video game is without a doubt a new and exciting concept and can have some great benefits. The interesting fact is that a player will not only leave their house to collect as many creatures as possible. They will go eventually learn and go to where ever the most “Pokémon” are. This is monitored and controlled by the in game mapping engine that not only shows where the hyper local Pokemon creatures are but also shows various places “nearby” the user where Pokemon creatures “Hang Out”
The Place To Be (the “Pokéstop”)
The next thing to understand about this game is that there are different places to find these “Pokémon.” There are common areas that are left essentially unmarked (ie. In your house, on your street, etc), and then there are “Pokéstops.” These “Pokéstops” are locations that offer multitudes of wild creatures. These sites are marked and highlighted in the games mapping system by a blue box, excess circles, and pink leaves. With that being said it is safe to say that a user will always seek out a “Pokéstop” because it will increase their chances of capturing more wild creatures and leveling up.
The Necessary Inquiries:
The two questions that should be made concerning “Pokéstops” are “How is a “Pokéstop” made?” and “Who has the power to make a “Pokéstop?” Both of these questions go hand-in-hand because the overseers offer a website that touches on both topics. Until just a short time ago a business owner or literally any person can go to this website, fill out the appropriate information, and request a new “Pokéstop.” It is unknown if this inability to create a Pokestop is temporary or permanent. However the information that is filled in by the requester was pretty minimal:
After an individual sends a request, they wait for a “Pokéstop” to be created. There are only two regulations to this process. First, the requested “Pokéstop” has to be made in a public location. Secondly, a couple of people need to make the request in order for it to get accepted. It would be nice if a parent’s guide to “Pokémon GO” could stop at that point. Sadly, there are many loopholes and secrets to the system.
As an SEO Expert I immediately realized some of the great business marketing benefits of a Pokestop and hundred’s of businesses on a daily basis requested their own Pokestop’s placed right outside their business location. Imagine a Pokestop sponsored by Toys-R-Us or the local Ice cream shop? The potential sales from all the extra foot traffic is amazing. Our company has jumped on the bandwagon as well by helping hundreds of businesses take advantage of this added traffic by advising them to offer free wifi to their added foot traffic using our social wifi solution. By offering free wifi to the foot traffic to help players save on data the business are able to capture the players contact information. The user save’s data on their mobile plan and the business gets information needed to be able to market to local residents. A win win.
Businesses are still taking advantage of Pokemon Go foot traffic by finding all the local Pokestop’s and sponsoring “lures” they then invite users back to their business location to get free date, electricity, and even discounted products.
The Unvoiced Dangers:
Unfortunately the foster parent training and knowledge crept into my brain and realized that there are two major problems with the previously described system. First, a public location such as a park, apartment complex, or even outside an official business can not ensure personal safety. Secondly, these so-called “public places” are many times not occupied by the public in the late hours of the evening or wee hours of the morning. All-in-all this makes the idea of “Pokémon GO” and “Lures” downright worrisome.
More Money= More “Lures” = More People
A “Pokéstop” becomes official once an individual or a particular business gets the approval. The next step is to purchase “lures.” These are acquired by logging into “Pokémon GO,” purchasing “Pokécoins, and using them to buy “lures.” Once those are purchased rather significant amounts of wild “Pokémon” migrate to that particular area. This ‘lure” may also lead boys and girls of all age groups going to that location. They do this because they are able to see the location of the Pokestop on their in app mapping system. The entire “Pokemon” process can be broken down into the following:
- Business determines location of Pokestop’s
- Purchase “Pokécoins” with money.
- Use “Pokécoins” to buy “lures.”
- Use “Lures attract wild “Pokémon.”
- Players see the location on their radar.
- Players flock to that particular area to collect the wild “Pokémon.”
The Last Step:
In the previous list, there are 6 steps followed by a blank step. That was done by design to show the unknown actions that transpire once a person arrives at a “Pokéstop.” Some of the plausible situations that could result in danger to those individuals, especially is noted below:
- A terrorist makes use of the location and uses it to lure in innocent boys and girls.
- Physical altercations occur because bullies want all the wild “Pokémon” from the “Pokéstop.”
- The boys and girls are struck by vehicles because they cluelessly wander into the street during their search for the creatures at that “Pokéstop.”
- Children get lost while hunting the wild “Pokémon” because they are unfamiliar with their surroundings.
- An abduction occurs because a sex offender lures kids to the ““Pokéstop.”
- Teams act outs against one another in a violent manner because they don’t approve of other teams ideologies.
Preventing The Dangers of “Pokémon GO”:
There are way too many negative outcomes that have the potential to transpire at one of these “Pokéstops.” Additionally, As one plays the game, their odds of running into one of these tragedies dramatically increases. This occurs because a boy or girl that visits more “Pokéstops” introduces themselves to new environments and new people. Those new people may have maleficent intentions. Parents can employ the following tactics to combat this problem:
- Be aware of your child’s location 24/7.
- Assign your child boundaries so that they do not wander into dangerous areas in their pursuit of wild “Pokémon” creature.
- Instruct your children to be vigilant in regards to the people they see around them.
- Go on a walk with your kids to see where they hunt for wild “Pokémon.”
- Talk to close friends or neighbors about the dangers and instruct them to be vigilant.
- Instruct more parents about the possible dangers of the game.
- Make a family event outside so the children can catch “Pokémon” safely.
- Share this article with other parents.