“Hey Dad, Can I come with you?” These are the words every dad wants to hear from his teenage son. He wants to spend time with his old man. What could be better? What could bring a father greater joy? We all have had that experience where you son gets too old to want just to hang out with dear old dad. But something about this request seems odd. You would think this is a good thing. When he gets in the car, I begin to engage him in whity banter. There is dead silence on the other end. Did I do something uncool? If he did not want to talk why did my son what to come along for the ride? I am starting to feel like other factors are motivating this new found sense of togetherness. He is not hanging out with me because he discovered how cool his dad is. He is hanging out with me because he has been bitten by the new Pokémon Go phenomenon. I have no idea what it is all about. I don’t get why it’s popular, but I see that it is all the rave these days. When I went online to find out what the draw was. I ran across this comment to explain why it is so popular.
“The completionist “gotta catch ‘em all” is a pull for me definitely. The integration with real-life locations is giving me a reason to get up and walk/run to places nearby that I otherwise would never have seen. I’ve definitely gotten more cardio the past two days than I have the last three months combined. Also, the social aspect: I’m running into a bunch of other Pokémon trainers out in the real world, and it’s an easy way to strike up a conversation with strangers. The sheer number of people that are engrossed in finding Pokémon in the real world (and walking around) is amazing.”
So from what I gather from my brief online research is that Pokemon there are three benefits. 1) It gets people out of the house. 2) If you do it the right way, it has health benefits. At least it gets people off the couch and moving. And 3) It is building a new sense of community. Now while I am disappointed that my son is not hanging out with the old man because he thinks I am cool, least we are hanging out. And ever so often between him looking for some new rare pocket monster, we sneak in a conversation. On those rare occasions when his face is not buried in his cell phone, we get a chance to connect. I will take those 35-second conversations. It may not be much as I would like, I still get an opportunity to be a positive influence. I will take what I can get. So Pokemon Go is making hanging out with dad cool.
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