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Minecraft – Three Things Parents Need To Know

| May 27, 2014 | Comments (4)
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Parents, there are three things you need to know about Minecraft – the game every child seems to be playing, wanting to play, or is asking for the Minecraft toys for their birthday.

First, Minecraft is a free, world-based, graphically lower grade game where players can simply construct their own world. In creative mode, users are allowed unhindered creativity and construction, while survival mode resembles a more typical video game style in which players must watch their character’s health and survive attacks from enemies within the game.

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Second , Minecraft assumes the person using their game isn’t your eight or 10 year old. Per Minecraft’s terms of service and need for a valid credit card, the assumption is it’s a teen (13+) or older audience playing the game.

This is important to know because if your child is 12 and under and they’re playing the paid version of this fun and engaging game, realize that your child is able play with anyone around the World, (unless you have taken the step to set them up in the game with their real-world friends). Note that once a user is in a server with other players, children can be chatting with other children, or other adult strangers. Because the game is assumed to have players 13 or older, the necessary online privacy safeguards aren’t required to be in place. The chatting function in Minecraft, for example, does not censor out any personal information that users are sending to one another. So that means, if the other person playing with your child in the paid version of the game, asks your child where they live or what their phone number is, the content won’t be censored.

minecraft capture 3

For this reason, we recommend your child play the single player version of the game or select a server where you have confirmed with other parents of your child’s friends what their screen name is and that you’ve invited them. This is the recommended safe and smart way for children to play.

Third, and onto what we really like about this game, is that different from traditional video games, Minecraft is as much an entertainment source as it is a building toy. Through the game, young users practice spatial reasoning, elements of construction, and total creativity. Rather than being fixed to the storyline of a game’s environment and plot progression, Minecraft players can essentially write their own story in a world they build.

No coding is required to play the game, but for some of the slightly older users, mods are a popular means of customizing the game. Mods are changes to the game environment that entail coding with Java. Not only do mods allow for even more creative freedom, they can also be shared with friends, fostering an enthusiasm for coding.

Nicolas Cage-faced sheep

Nicolas Cage-faced sheep

With the rising popularity of the game and the way in which it encourages youth to learn some of the fundamental principles of coding, it is no surprise that there are an increasing number of workshops and youtube tutorials that utilize minecraft as a training ground for Java coding.

Many parents are worried that their children are wasting their time playing video games, Minecraft included, but in reality, the simplicity and customizability of such a simple game allows for more creative thought than most console games. Youth who play Minecraft are only a small step away from being inspired to learn Java coding. Seeing their code in action in the world of Minecraft can inspire them to learn more and advance their skills beyond the parameters of the game. Just remember to follow our steps so that your child plays this terrific game the safest and smartest way.

 

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Comments (4)

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  1. Kathleen says:

    Mary Kay,

    In the app, I went to Options and locked “Third Person” and “Local server multi player”. I am not sure what either of these mean, nor the option of “Invite realms to alpha”. Additionally, I didn’t see a chat option to lock. Any advice?

    • Mary Kay says:

      Hi Kathleen,

      The Minecraft app, known as Minecraft Pocket Edition, doesn’t actually have a chat function. The multi player function is only available through a Local Area Network meaning on the same wi-fi. It doesn’t have chat because the makers of the game assume that if you’re playing on the same wi-fi you can just talk to the other people you’re playing with.

  2. morgan burten says:

    iam 9 and i do play minecraft to all aldalts out there reading this i reamend turning off chat thats how people tell bad words and scype even where they live all iam saying is WATCH OUT!!!!!

  3. Sam Black says:

    Hi Mary, I agree that Minecraft allows for a lot of creativity and is much better than the vast majority of video games. My first complaint is that the game can require a lot of time online to accomplish just about any construction project. Because of the creativity and interaction the game is very engaging, however, it can look a little like an addiction. My wife and I try to enforce a specific time frame for our son to play, but it requires regular vigilance. Also a note of caution to parents, a lot of kids use Skype to video conference to play the game. When my son approached me with this request it was a definite “no.” Basically, kids (and adults) on Minecraft are skypeing with strangers. In the words of my 17-year-old daughter to my 13-year-old son, “That’s sketchy.”

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