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Understanding familial locative play: exploring parent online social learning to play Pokémon Go

Saker, M. ORCID: 0000-0002-7414-2840 & Mercea, D. ORCID: 0000-0003-3762-2404 (2022). Understanding familial locative play: exploring parent online social learning to play Pokémon Go. Convergence, 28(2), pp. 506-521. doi: 10.1177/13548565211032375


Pokémon Go is a hybrid reality game (HRG) that research suggests is played by families in the context of joint media engagement. Yet, the game interface itself provides little information about how to approach the game. Given this and the fact that many parents play this HRG with their young children, we examine the process of parent online social learning to play Pokémon Go. Drawing on an original study of Pokémon Go conducted between August and November 2019, including a Facebook survey on a non-probabilistic purposive sample, and semi-structured interviews with a range of parents who play this HRG with their children, the aim of this article is to explore parent online social learning as a path to optimising in-game performance. In the main, we found that the frequency with which parents followed tips provided by individuals online related inversely to how well they knew them and was differentially linked to the sources of information parents used. We nuance these findings with insights from the interviews.

Publication Type: Article
Additional Information: This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 License ( which permits non-commercial use, reproduction and distribution of the work without further permission provided the original work is attributed as specified on the SAGE and Open Access page (
Publisher Keywords: intergenerational play, hybrid reality game, joint-media engagement, locative games, Pokémon Go, parents, social learning, social media
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GV Recreation Leisure
H Social Sciences > HM Sociology
H Social Sciences > HQ The family. Marriage. Woman
L Education
Departments: School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
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