“With Pokémon Sleep, you can turn your sleep into entertainment!”. This is how the Pokémon Company advertises its new game – with success. The Google Play Store has recorded more than 5 million app downloads since its release in July 2023. The catch: the app accompanies children and young people to bed and collects sensitive health data in the process.
Pokémon Sleep is an app that embeds human sleep in a gaming experience. Players have to help Professor Neroli with sleep research on an adventure island and work together with the Pokémon Relaxo. The app records noises and movements during the night and uses the data collected to create a sleep log. The longer users sleep, the higher their score the next morning and the more new Pokémon appear around Relaxo. Sleep is divided into three types: Semi-sleep, light sleep or deep sleep. In the morning, Pokémon appear that sleep in a similar way. During the day, players can explore sleeping poses, feed the Pokémon and carry out other game activities. The aim is to record as much sleep as possible and thus collect many different Pokémon and poses. The app is also compatible with Pokémon GO Plus, which is the gadget for the game Pokémon GO.
Whether as playing cards, a TV series or a video game – many children and young people grow up with Pokémon and love the little monsters. Pokémon is aimed at young people’s passion for collecting. With Pokémon Sleep, players can get new Pokémons and take care of them without much effort. Getting information about sleep behavior appeals to young people’s love of discovery. Tasks from the friendly Professor Neroli and rewards such as bonus cookies make children and young people want to spend time in the game world with the Pokémons.
Consumer protection warns that Pokémon Sleep monitors the sleeping behavior of children and young people and that the game concept can encourage addictive behavior:
In this test, the data protection website mobilsicher.de proved that the app sends data to advertisers. The audio recordings are saved locally and deleted after 24 hours. However, users’ sleep profiles are stored on company servers. The Pokémon Company states that it does not sell sensitive data of minors for advertising purposes. It is not possible for minors to link their accounts with those of friends. The provider advises you to switch off the audio recording function to save data.
Protect your child’s privacy online and avoid data-hungry apps such as Pokémon Sleep. Younger children in particular can be very absorbed by this game directly before and after sleep, but also during the day. Children are not yet able to assess the implications of sleep monitoring in connection with digital currency.
If your child is older and really wants to use the app, please note the following information: