Kids are passionate about Minecraft. And so too are many parents. Some rate it as the most creative and genuinely educational game a child can play. Others seem equally convinced Minecraft is the devil incarnate.
So who’s right, and what’s a parent to do?
Minecraft has been described variously as “a multiplatform sandbox adventure game” and an endless box of digital Lego blocks. Neither description really nails it - because Minecraft isn’t so much a “game” as it is a toy. There are no pre-set rules, no winners or losers, no finish line.
As for the Lego blocks comparison, as one parent enthusiast has noted, it’s actually more like “building something out of Lego after you made and moulded the plastic and dyed it with plants that you grew yourself, and then going on an adventure inside it through forests and deserts while monsters are chasing you.”
Essentially, Minecraft is a space where players dig (mine) and build (craft) different kinds of 3D blocks within a large world of varying terrains and habitats to explore. Depending on which mode they’re playing in, they might also need to fight for survival against hunger, danger and villains.
What are the risks?
For all of its creative and educational value - which is considerable - Minecraft does pose risks for younger kids, especially when they’re in multiplayer mode. That means they’re online and connected to a public server. And that means they’re playing with strangers.
The vast majority of Minecraft players are there to have fun. But some are bullies, pure and simple, who’ll try to destroy your child’s creations, “kill” their player and/or use profanity - among other disturbing behaviours.
Minecraft can be TOO much fun for some kids - and that means it can lead to compulsive and problematic screen-time. As one mother noted on the Common Sense Media review site,
VERY ADDICTING!! DO NOT BUY!! My kid is sitting on the computer ALL DAY LONG."
The good news is that Family Zone can help you manage Minecraft Online to keep your child’s play safe and positive.
PROBLEM: Minecraft is keeping my child up at night
SOLUTION: A simple setting on your Family Zone account, Sleep-time, can fix the Minecraft all-nighter in the blink of an eye. Our Sleep-time setting shuts off the internet on all of your child’s devices at a time set by you. (Experts recommend an hour before bedtime.) You can even set weekend and school-night sleep-times, or make quick changes to allow or block access at any time.
PROBLEM: Minecraft is distracting my child from study
SOLUTION: With Family Zone’s Study-time setting, you can easily program your child’s device to access only educational sites and apps for whatever portion of the day you deem appropriate. Once homework is done, your child’s device switches to Play-time - including play on Minecraft.
PROBLEM: My child needs a holiday from Minecraft
You can now block Minecraft for as long or short a period as you’d like, without affecting your settings for other games or apps. All you need to do is log in to your Family Zone account, click Cyber Safety > Controls > Social Networks and Games > Age Profile, and you'll see the Minecraft settings. Tap Play to block or unblock.
On the Zone Manager parent app, click Settings > Controls > Social Networks and Games > Age Profile to view or change your child’s Minecraft settings.
If it sounds as if Family Zone could help your family manage Minecraft - or any other problematic game or app - why not sign up for a free trial today?