My older kids Sabrina and Matt are into gaming. They love playing games and making a review out of it. Of course this is regulated in our home and they only play during weekends. Pokemon is a cartoon that is all too familiar to them growing up. So having it as a game was something they were very excited about. As we all know the sensational, most awaited augmented reality game – went live for over a week here in the Philippines.
As soon as it was launched, I also started receiving articles about being careful with this Pokemon Go game. As many may or may not know, Pokemon means Pocket Monsters/demons. The goal of the game is to catch these monsters, train them and eventually get them to fight with one another. It is a first of its kind because through your phone you have to find these “wild” monsters with its GPS feature and then catch them so you can start training them. This raised many concerns as so many of them can’t seem to take their eyes off their smartphones leading many into car crashes, many have wandered in off-limit areas and it simply makes one distracted and many times irresponsible.
John downloaded the game but I did not want to overreact – so I shared my thoughts without attacking. I felt our young teenagers were not ready to be exposed to this kind of game. I honestly believed in my heart that we have other better things to do than waste time looking for something imaginary to train and fight. On a personal note, I don’t think you can ever train a demon/monster. The truth is eventually it will be the reverse, they will train you to be addicted to it. But since it was downloaded, he said that we will approach it with gentleness and love.
So they started to play the game. In just a day or two my son started to develop an aggressive attitude. He was always concerned about 2 things, internet data and battery power. Every time his battery was dying or there was no wifi in the area – he would be restless and be rude if he can’t get connected. Then I started to notice him step out of our house without permission to walk around in the streets to catch these pokemons. I almost snapped when we were in the mall looking for a restaurant to have lunch. He begged to go to the fountain area to find some pokemon. I explained to him we needed to settle in a restaurant first. But since he looked so desperate, I allowed him. I told him I would call him when we found a restaurant we were dining in. When I did I call, he was more upset that he could not find us and it took us so long to find a restaurant. I patiently told him to come down to the basement food court and find Chef Noodles which was besides Yabu. When I began to realize it was taking him awhile I called him again. I found out My son heard only “Yabu” and because he was too distracted – he instead of being apologetic, pulled out a negative attitude. That pokemon game is really causing division, friction and communication breakdown between us. I had to talk to John – there must be a way to regulate this, I am losing my son.
So in my early morning dates with the Lord, I poured out my concern over this game my son was obsessing about. The Lord reminded me that we are the steward of our kids and that we need to guide them. I must exude love and grace at all times. The Lord impressed in my heart to pray over my children’s heart and conviction. I was reminded that as a parent I can bless my children by praying over for wisdom and understanding that comes from the Lord. So I did just that. I got down on my knees and prayed that they would lose their appetite for games that makes them distracted and is destructive to them. I prayed that they would have a personal realization and make a wise choice.
That morning after breakfast, I just made Matthew read an article:
After he read it, I asked him what he thought of the material. He just told me: “Mom there is no teleportation and I honestly don’t understand how playing a game can influence ones thinking”. I praise God for this opening because I was able to share that whatever we feed our minds eventually will manifest in our behavior. That’s why we say, garbage in-garbage out. Matthew hugged me and left the room. I really was not sure how he would process it, but I entrusted my son to the Lord.
The next day, another secular video discussed the terms and conditions of this game that actually gives Pokemon the right to your data: email, photos and videos and even global positioning. I shared this with my daughter Sabrina. After watching the video, she told me that people will always destroy a game that is popular. There will always be haters. I smiled as I saw this as an opportunity to share some truth. Not all things that are popular means its right or good for us. We need to be discerning because the world will always sell us lies and we need to know the truth. Truth makes us walk in the right path and will not destroy you in the long run. After this discussion, I just let God take over.
That night, I shared to Matthew about the security concerns of Pokemon. He just told straight “Mom don’t worry about it. I don’t play Pokemon now. Its such a silly game: Catch and train and fight. Its eating my data and its such a waste of time. – I actually deleted it already.”
My mouth dropped. No words could come out because I knew God was teaching me great parenting lessons. He wanted me to learn how to pray strategically for my kids. He wanted me to learn how to courageously and graciously guide them without condemnation. God wanted me to trust in Him especially with our kids even when I can’t see the results.
Today we have waved Pokemon Go-odbye and we’re putting our banner up: Panginoon –Go!