Pokémon at Church
Tisbury has been taken over by Pocket Monsters and their hunters!
Don’t be alarmed by those wandering round the church yard with frustrated faces, engrossed by their mobile phones and flicking their screens wildly. They are most likely playing the latest gaming sensation to hit the mobile phone market, ‘Pokémon Go’!
First of all, what is Pokémon GO?
Pokémon GO is a mobile and tablet app game which lets players find Pokémon (Short for ‘Pocket Monsters’, Animated creatures, first created in the 90s, which players have to catch, train and battle with). The game takes place in augmented reality (meaning the game combines real life action with virtual gaming) by using GPS as you walk around towns, cities and other locations to find the Pokémon.
The game has been an overnight sensation with millions playing it around the world.
Why does your church need to know?
Our church, and the Hinton Hall are ‘PokéStops’ – ‘PokéStops’ are real life buildings and landmarks that players have to visit to get certain items they need to play the game. The local playground is a ‘Gym’ where players can battle their Pokémon. (Being Gym means people spend significantly more time battling Pokémon.)
Pokémon Go is therefore giving churches around the country a great opportunity to meet people from their area who might not normally come to church. However, we all need to be aware that this game means that children under the age of 18 may come into contact with people who may present a risk.
While for most this game is a fantastic social adventure, it does have its hazards. There are the funnier moments of people walking into cows in an attempt to catch a pikachu, etc., but the diocese and NSPCC have both published advice for churches and parents concerning the safety of vulnerable adults and children, as many players have found themselves alone in dangerous situations whilst following ‘lures’, set by other members of the public.
The Church of England has published a notice saying: ‘The NSPCC has issued advice to parents of those children playing Pokémon GO in the UK. Whilst we would encourage churches to engage with those playing the game, be they adults or children, we also understand the concerns that the NSPCC have raised with regards to keeping children safe. Our first priority as a church should be to provide a safe place for children and vulnerable adults with regards to Pokémon GO.’
In summary: If you are under 18 and playing the game, go out in groups, let someone know where you are at all times, and stay in well-lit areas.