Schools preparing for Pokemon Go craze

The summer gaming craze Pokemon Go is a big hit with kids, but soon they'll be heading back to school. How are teachers going to deal with the game in just a few weeks?

HERSHEY, Pa. (WHTM) – It’s the Pokémon Go predicament of 2016: schools all over the country are trying to think of ways to keep kids off their phones and into their school work.

Tanner and Gabe are Hershey Middle School students. They have been best friends for years and one of their favorite past times is the new game. When we asked Gabe why he had Pikachu socks, he said, “Because Pokémon is awesome! You gotta catch them all.”

For 11-year-olds, they’re pretty up to date with how the Pokémon Go craze has affected adults.

“People were getting in accidents, drove into Area – what’s it called? Area 51,” Tanner said.

But now that it’s back-to-school time, how will teachers prevent Pokémon Go from becoming a distraction?

“We don’t necessarily have any rules yet because we’re not 100 percent sure what we’re up against,” Hershey Middle School Principal Erick Valentin said.

The app went live while schools were out for the summer.

“What’s really important is that as an educator we teach kids how to be responsible with this, their cell phone, or any other device or any other activity,” Valentin said.

Remember Silly Bandz? Or what about Pokemon cards? Derry Township School District spokesperson Dan Tredinnick said handling this new fad will be  no different than handling fads of the past.

“We focus not necessarily on “the thing” but the way we deal with whatever the thing is and make sure once we’re in an educational environment that we’re focusing on learning,” Tredinnick  said. “When they’re outside the education environment, they can do whatever they want to do.”

For Tanner and Gab, this year’s “thing” definitely is Pokémon Go. Teachers getting ready for the school year say instead of making Pokémon Go a “Pokémon, no”, they hope to use the app to teach children responsibility while using technology.

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