Friday, July 29, 2016

Pokemon Go, You, Your Child, and Privacy

Pokemon Go is all the rage right now, and if your a parent you might not be to sure how to handle this new app craze that is the Angry Birds of 2016. Pokémon Go is a free-to-play location-based, augmented reality game developed and published by Niantic, Inc. for iOS and Android devices.  What you might not be aware of is some of the privacy issues that you may be exposing you and/or your child to.

As you may or may not be aware the way Pokemon Go! uses two ways to sign up for an account.  Using a Pokemon Trainer Account and tieing it to a Google Account.  If you are signing up a child to play this game I highly recommend you use the Pokemon Trainer account.  If you sign up your child with a new google account there are some issues.

1) The Google Terms of service specifies that a user must be at least 13 years of age.

"At the moment, age restrictions don't warrant a single word in Google's Gmail Terms & Privacy details. Google does, however, spell them out on YouTube, buried down in item 12 of its Terms of Service. “If you are under 13 years of age, then please do not use the Service."

You can use the gmail account setup by the schools if the schools are setup for using google because there are additional privacy protections with those accounts.

2) The Pokemon Trainer account is suppose to compliance with the Children's Online Privacy Protection Rule "COPPA" as is the Google Accounts for schools, and has far more privacy restrictions then with a general Google Account. 

Granted that COPPA is a US based law and according so TWIL Episode 353 it is suppose to offer better privacy protection than your typical google account.


1. Go to the Poké official website or click on this link to go to the signup page

2. Once you enter the webpage, below the “Join the Pokémon Trainer Club”” click on “Create an Account” button.
3. Click on the button marked, “Continue,” in the section on the right hand side of the page that is marked, “Sign Up! New to Poké ? Sign up for an account now!”
4. Select your country of residence from the drop-down menu, then enter your date of birth, Next, click on the button marked, “Continue.”
5. Complete the sign up process as directed to activate your account.
6. Done. Now go back to your phone and start the Sign up process. Please make sure to use your Pokémon Trainer Club Account instead of your Google Account.

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