Yesterday I spent an incredibly pleasant lunch in the park with our 14 year old son, eating sandwiches, and playing Pokémon Go. When the lure I had set at the local Pokestop had faded, and I suggested it was time to get back to work, my son said “this was fun. Can we do it again?”
It’s with these words ringing in my ears that I spotted this meme:
It’s easy to blow off something like Pokémon Go as a fad, as a waste of time, as ridiculous and not worth learning about. And, of course, you are welcome to believe all of those things – but if you haven’t taken time to understand the game, then you are closing yourself off from learning something new, and perhaps connecting with the next generation.
As a parent, becoming a trainer on Pokémon Go allowed me to participate with my son on his terms. We compared notes on critters collected, and enjoyed people watching as our lure attracted not just wild Pokémon, but also young trainers intent on filling their Pokédex.
But I’m not just speaking as a parent – I’m also speaking as a professional communicator, an employer, and as a person in the world.
We are pounded with advice that we need to connect with Millennials, and yet when given the opportunity (according to one report 46% of Pokémon Go players are between the ages of 18 to 29), we either blow it off, or make fun of it.
Instead, what would happen if we actively participated? If we played the games, read the books, watched the movies and tv shows, and learned the language? I suspect we might start to connect, authentically, with the next generation, as I did with my son in the park.
Or at the very least, we will figure out that the “smart” one is the person outside hunting Pokémon in the sun, and not the person posting memes from their desk.
Photo credit: Meme Generator