Posted by: bwoof | July 31, 2016

To Pokemon or not, that is is the question…

So, I finally succumbed and downloaded the Pokemom Go app.

Why?

An example of what I saw at the park from The Ottawa Sun

An example of what I saw at the park from The Ottawa Sun

Well, I was at the park with two little ones, and doing my very best non-helicopter-concerned-adult imitation, I was at quite a distance and just purposed to ‘let them be’.  Indeed!  It was glorious, and might have included a scraped knee or two, but also untold amounts of independence, curiosity, and exploration. Kid stuff. Good stuff.

So, from my carefully perched position, I was able to see another phenomena. The park was full of people….lots of them…and not a single one looking at each other, no eye-t0-eye contact, no non-verbal facial expressions noticed, no gleam of interest in the other.

But curiously, they were together in small groups of friends, families, and even new acquaintances. Many of them engaged in head-down conversations with others, many of whom had evidently never met before. They were walking, albeit slowly and with circuitous paths. They sometimes huddled together or sat side by side on park benches. Two wheeled by on bicycles with iPhones in hand and eyes gazed downward,  and I wondered how they didn’t crash.

Each person, even the youngest toddlers and the almost-grey-haired adults, held a device, and on that device was Pokemon Go. It felt surreal with so many people almost floating in slow motion.

So…with all my adult-care-for-youngsters-attentiveness, I confess that I did take one fraction of an eye off the little ones and simultaneously downloaded the app. I had to! Right?

Within seconds I was online and could see the cause for the impromptu gathering (and more people kept coming). Nearby were three Pokemon entities. I stood up, one eye still on the little ones, and began to attempt my first Pokemon catch. Silly things….they kept wiggling away, but finally I got the turtle in sight, within a circle thingy that kept radiating in and out.  Nothing happened even though I kept pressing my iPhone button.

squirtle_pokemonLater, in an act of Pokemon community, I asked a nearby-head-down-safe-looking-adult how I could get the turtle. What’s the aim of the game I wondered. “You have to toss the ball over the head of the pokemon…get it beyond him”, I was told.

A few attempts later, my head now down for more than seconds, and I realized that my little ones were off on their own, climbing monkey bars to less-than-safe heights. And I had become distracted.

Ouch!

Something is not right about this situation. I have decided that the question “To Pokemon or not” is important for me to answer.

van_allsburg_wretched_stone12948868164d2e67a020723I deleted the app.

This reminds me of a most important book illustrated by one of my favourite children’s adult authors, Chris Van Allsburg. I urge everyone to read, The Wretched Stone.

Pokemon looks stoney to me.

Grateful for:

  • a reminder that technology isn’t everything
  • a reminder from Dean Shareski, @shareski, that people are not responding to each other as much on Twitter. I think it’s a version of the Pokemon phenomena and we need to be careful
  • the park, the play structures, the sunshine, the slips and falls, the breeze in our hair

Curious about:

  • Trump. How, oh how can this trumpiness be happening?
  • What will pervasive ubiquitous technology do to our brains?

 

 

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