Yesterday, Niantic, the developers of Pokemon Go, announced a new product aimed at giving parents better control over how their kids use Pokemon Go, and potentially other Niantic games. Niantic Kids is a login system developed in partnership with SuperAwesome. It is billed as a away for parents to manage what their kids can do.
Parents can register with Niantic Kids to manage their child’s privacy via the parent portal. Niantic Kids helps you review and approve your child’s permissions before they can play and provides options to control the personal information shared in Pokémon GO.
They don’t mention any specifics here, but the consensus among parent of kids who play Pokemon Go is that this could mean that Niantic is finally going to let parents decide if their under 13 kids can use the friend feature. If so, that will be great. I have two under 13 kids who play Pokemon Go but are not able to be friends with me, can’t send and receive gifts, can’t trade, can’t receive exclusive gift only pokemon, and more. If this Niantic Kids program allows parents the choice to open these features to their kids, that would be awesome. Among other potential, but not verified, features would be the ability to lock the game at certain times, allow kids to view and interact with sponsored pokestops and gyms, many of the latter being locations of EX-Raids the only way players can potentially catch MewTwo. All really cool things. They even confirmed that kids who use the Pokemon Trainer Club logins will continue to be able to play, and alluded to the idea that the PTC and Niantic Kids accounts could be tied together.
If your child currently uses the Pokémon Trainer Club to access Pokémon GO, this log-in will still be supported alongside Niantic Kids and also ensures that your child’s information remains secure. You can continue to enjoy the game with your family in a way that suits you!
Not even a day into this news, Niantic has helpfully crushed any dreams and fantasies parents and kids had of doing any of this. In response to this announcement, a twitter user asked NianticHelp if this feature would be for existing child accounts, or just new accounts. This is what NianticHelp had to say.
Great question, Trainer! Niantic Kids accounts are only available to new users. Unfortunately, you're unable to link to an already active Pokémon Trainer Club account at this time. ^KM
— Niantic Support (@NianticHelp) August 16, 2018
See that? According to Niantic, if your kid wants to use this login and potentially gain access to the friend feature and all the associated benefits, they would have to scrap their 2 years of game progress, pokemon they have caught, some of which could be timed release that are no longer available or rare shiny forms, and start from scratch. Unlike connecting an existing account to a Google or Facebook account, Niantic won’t allow existing players to use this feature.
Granted, we still have no way to know for sure what Niantic Kids actually does. However, parents have been asking repeatedly for a way to allow their under 13 kids to use the friend feature. With this new development, they had their hopes raised and then immediately smashed to pieces. To this I say to Niantic, “Get your crap in order.”