Friday, July 29, 2016

Pokemon Go - Cliff Notes from the Other Side

Pokemon Go has taken over  the mobile gaming world - 75 million downloads in  a little over 2 weeks is beyond amazing statistics. Let me also add that if you came to my article looking for hacks to dupe the system into believing you are walking, hatching eggs, location spoofing, teleporting to pokestops - you came to the wrong place - yes there is code for that somewhere on the internet - just not here. Every single XP point earned by me and my son tag-teaming has been without gaming the system - with good old walking, collecting at poke stops, fighting gyms and catching pokemon.
Pokemon Go was a game my 9 yr old introduced me to some 10 days back, and life hasn't really been the same since. At Level 20,  here is some advice I would offer you if you are just starting off  (something I wish someone had told me a week back) -
#1 Have Fun - this game is to let off some steam,bond with your kids and get some steps in  ( here's a tip - visit parks with multiple poke stops - chances are there will be lure models set there most of the time)
#2 Don't get impatient - don't randomly power up Pokemon, or evolve them just because you can. Wait till you get really high CP (Combat Power) Pokemon (that usually happens around Level 15)
#3 - Catch these 3 - Pidgey, Caterpie, Weedle every chance you get - see # 4 for why?
#4  Maximize your XP points - use a lure model (attracts pokemon to poke stops, works for everyone) incense (attracts pokemon to you) and lucky egg (double XP) together in a pokemon hotspot ( for eg. a popular park where people put multiple lure models). Use that 1/2 hr to evolve as many Pidgey, Caterpie and Weedle that you can and catch as many pokemon in the same 1/2 hour -- I jumped 2 levels each time with this strategy and know of people who jumped 3 levels with this strategy
#5 Battle Gyms - you can either train your Pokemon for XP by battling others or store them there for bonus Poke Coins and Stardust, which can be claimed once every 21 hours. However, when you encounter an opposing team's gym, you can only do battle with its Pokemon. If you defeat its entire roster, you'll take a large amount of Prestige Points away from that gym.
#6 Turn off AR for easier captures - I have found it useful to turn off augmented reality  to catch pokemon with greater accuracy (play around to see what actually works for you)
#7 Use Pokevision  -  which is a nifty tool to find where the Pokemon are (
At the end of the day - Pokemon Go has been an enabler for some good habits  in our family - we end up walking as a family at a park every single day, my step count has increased 5K per day in the past 10 days and last but not the least - my son and I have truely bonded over a mobile game.
Trainer Tip : Please Please don't play Pokemon while driving - I have seen two accidents in a 30 mph zone because folks were playing Pokemon while driving !

What's your Pokemon Go Story?

Friday, July 15, 2016

Tentative Parenting : Monkey See, Monkey Do

K2 : Ma, how come we have no hair products at home
Working Mom : Huh! We have shampoo and coconut oil - what are you talking about?
K2  (rolls his eyes) : Ma - I mean hair products like hair gel
Working Mom (Stretching the truth) : K2, you know all that is bad for your hair right?
K2 : Ma - But R, C and T use it - so I think it's alright - can you please get me some?
Working Mom : No can do baby! Not quite yet. Let's give it a couple more years and then if you still feel like putting artificial goop in your hair, its your choice. How about we talk about this again when you are 13?

In the urban dictionary "Monkey See, Monkey Do" is  - an expression describing someone who imitates another person's actions, good or bad,simply by having watched them before.
Given the sociologist in me I researched this some more and here are some loose guidelines I have set for myself in my parenting quest :
  1. Be intentional about your child's surroundings but be open to the fact that he will be exposed to both positive and negative role-models. For eg. K2 has this friend who only eats whites (white rice, white yogurt, white pasta with alfredo saunce, pretty much no veggies and fruits) and K2 takes a lot of pleasure in throwing up the friend's example when he is given 2 servings of fruits and veggies for both lunch and dinner - I just smile and ask him what the Doctor told him in his last check-up - Eat 6-7 servings of veggies and fruits  ( the argument ends there!)
  2. Notice the positive - K2 was reluctant about brushing twice (don't ask-I won't tell) till his friend had a rather painful cavity extraction and was very explicit about detailing the painful experience - I have noticed regular brushing and flossing as an offshoot #FTW
  3. Talk about it - Like we did about the hair products - it's not about giving in or it's not about being controlling - it's about letting them know Why Not and when they can use it if they still want to --- We have had a similar discussion around soda, getting him a phone etc. etc...the list doesn't end (can't say the same about the patience level!)
  4. Do as you say - I limited  the conversation around my son's use of hair gel but it was an easier talk for me to have with him because he sees that at home Mom and Dad don't really use a lot of these products - the soda conversation was an easy one because we have no soda lying around in the house.

It's so easy for the young ones and the not-so young ones to get caught up in this behavior - whether it's hair styles, dresses, make-up, shoes, designer bags, accents, behavioral aspects...we tend to look up to and ape role models. I constantly  remind K2 and myself of something my father told me while I was growing up " it takes nothing to join the crowd, it takes grit and courage to stand alone - you don't have to fit in unless you want to ...always remember that

 Happy Friday! So are you living in a world of "Monkey See, Monkey Do or are you being an Original Monkey" :-)