by Berit Kjos
"Who are the strange little creatures from Japan that have suddenly become global super-stars? Most kids know the answer well: They are called Pokemon (short for POCKEt MONster and pronounced Pokeymon), and they have stirred up some mixed reactions.
"We just sent a letter home today saying Pokemon cards are no longer allowed on campus," said Paula Williams, a second-grade teacher in Danville, California. "The kids know they're supposed to be put away when they come in from recess, but they're often in the middle of a trade, so they don't come in on time. In the more extreme cases, the older kids are getting little kids to trade away valuable cards . It drives a teacher crazy."1 It concerns parents even more. "Recently, my children were given a set of Pokemon cards," said DiAnna Brannan, a Seattle mom. "They are very popular with the children at our church and elsewhere. I was instantly suspicious but couldn't discern the problem. We have since been told that they are stepping stones to the 'Magic cards' that have been popular for the last few years, which we do not allow."
She is right. For instance, any child exploring the most popular Pokemon websites2 will be linked to a selection of occult games such as Sailor Moon, Star Wars, and others more overtly evil. A click on the ad for "Magic: the Gathering" brings Pokemon fans to a site offering promotions such as this: "A global games phenomenon, Magic: The Gathering is to the 1990s what Dungeons and Dragons was to the 1980s, but with the added dimension of collectibility. Here is the official reference to the biggest new teen/young adult fantasy game of the decade, complete with full-colour reproductions of every existing Magic card."