Saturday 1 October 2016

Dr Ciara Kelly: Why you should have your children playing Pokemon Go

Ciara Kelly

Published 08/08/2016 | 02:30

Dr Ciara Kelly on Pokemon Go!
Dr Ciara Kelly on Pokemon Go!
People gather around a Pokemon gamer in Rome
Ciara Kelly

I like to think I'm not seduced by every passing fad. Although that's more aspirational than fact, as can be seen when I look back over old photographs of myself with pink hair or wearing over-sized shorts-dungarees or at one very strange stage, tinted-brown contact lenses - that made me look so almost unrecognisable, I could have easily worked as a spy for the KGB or indeed been a super-hero in hiding.

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But as I say - I'm almost immune to zeitgeisty, on trend passing fancies. So we are entering new territory here at Doctor's Orders when I suggest that Pokémon Go is something you really should look into - for the sake of your health!

Every member of my family, bar me - now has it on their phones and from young to old they are hunting and catching Pokémons. We're apparently lucky - there's a Poké-stop just over our back wall so if you stand on a table and lean precariously over our hedge you can catch them quite readily.

How this was worked out I'm still afraid to ask.

Ciara Kelly
Ciara Kelly

My eldest has become a Pokémon gym master - which sounds better than it is, as it has nothing to do with going to the gym but involves fighting other people in some random location - in his case a local coffee shop.

But my point is I have never, EVER seen my kids so active!

It was a miserable drizzling day today and my seven-year-old was pleading with us to go for a five km Poké-walk in the rain (I just coined that phrase right now and will be patenting it shortly for huge profit) because Pikachu was apparently on top of Bray Head - the weirdo.

One man rang into The Sean Moncrieff Show on Newstalk and said he had lost half a stone in a week because he was walking about 10 km a day trying to catch them. I am telling you this is literally game changing! See what I did there.

For years we have bemoaned the amount of time kids and indeed adults are spending staring at screens and not moving their asses, without seemingly being able to do anything to combat the lure of virtual living.

This new phenomenon is pure genius, in that it marries the two! You can stare at the screen and indulge in the mindless escapism that we all seem to so crave but at the same time the addictive nature of capturing these little Japanese creatures spurs you on to be active in a way you would never normally be!

Yes I know there may be down sides. People are becoming obsessed and I suppose it's a bit odd. Plus I've heard unconfirmed tales of people falling off piers etc. whilst in hot pursuit. But I think the pluses outweigh the minuses here.

Anything that forces people who are usually just glued to their phone or the TV, up off the couch and out the door on their own two legs is a really good thing.

And I imagine this new concept of blurring the virtual with reality, will only increase this new phase of gaming - where you're actually physically active while you play. HSE take note - this is where you should be going with your forward planning.

And to be honest in an era when social media is becoming increasingly angry and vitriolic, and daily news brings us little but terrorist attacks and the rise of polarised politics, seeing three grown men running around in circles excitedly, at the bus stop in front of my house - may just be the highlight of my week.

So get hunting, but remember Poké-walk is mine - you heard it here first!

@ciarakellydoc AKA PokéMom

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