Minecraft is a game that has been around for the longest of time, and it has enthralled generations of kids and teens alike. Originally released by Mojang in 2009 and later taken up by Microsoft in 2014, the sandbox game owes its immense popularity for a variety of reasons, from its unlimited creative scope and blocky but nonetheless appealing graphic design to the simple gameplay and different playable modes.
The world of the internet can be a pretty dangerous place, especially for kids or younger teens playing games or surfing through it. If you are a parent, then surely you must have a host of concerns regarding the safety and protection of your children online, so here is a list of essential tips that will keep them safe while playing the uber popular game of Minecraft.
Also, read games like Minecraft you must try.
Tips to Keep Your Children Safe While Playing Minecraft
1. Minecraft is Addictive
Although Minecraft isn’t nearly as addictive as games like Roblox, the sandbox gameplay allows total access and unbounded creativity because players can explore freely without any limitations. The endless structure gives an outlet to its players and doesn’t allow for a terminal objective which is why kids might find it difficult to leave the game midway.
Parents who have kids with ADHD should be even more wary because there have been numerous reports of higher affinity for the game among such children. If left unchecked this can lead to tantrums, meltdowns, and an unhealthy dependence on the game for some semblance of normalcy.
2. Vision Issues from Increased Screen Time
Any parent who has a kid playing Minecraft knows how the hours fly by when they sit at the computer or the console. With the game now available on Android and Apple smart devices as well, there is an even greater increase in the screen time spent playing. This can hamper their health, education, and well-being. It is important to set a time limit and child lock for gaming across all devices to reduce your child’s exposure to the blue light emitted from digital screens which has been proven to affect the biological clock and also prevent long-term issues with their vision in the future.
3. Concerning Violence
Even though Minecraft has an age rating of 8+ years, it doesn’t mean that the game is exempt from fighting or displays of violence. In the higher levels, hardcore mode, or while playing with multiple other players, the fighting can get pretty brutal, pretty quickly since various enemies need to be killed off for safety. This can leave a lasting impression on kids’ minds and also have them feeling disturbed by the grotesque scenes and gameplay. However, the game also features a ‘creative’ mode which has relatively little to no violence at all and is thus suitable for young ones interested in playing it.
4. Spending Large Sums of Money
First off, the game itself is relatively more expensive than its similar counterparts because of its branding, legacy, and continued popularity— it costs almost $27.00 USD for the single-player version. Secondly, there are numerous customizations available within the game that were meant to allure players, like mods, characters, streams, and maps among others. All of this means that the game can end up a bit heavier on the pocket than intended in the long-run. A way to mitigate this is to talk openly with your kids to make them understand the importance of budgeting instead of blowing through their pocket money all at once.
5. Exposure to Bullying and Exploitation
At face value, the world of Minecraft seems a very inviting, safe, and friendly one. However, that may not always be the case since essentially it is a platform where other human beings also play. In online Minecraft servers or in multiplayer modes with other gamers, children can find themselves exposed to various kinds of people and behaviors. There is a good chance that they may face bullying, strong language, and hate speech from other gamers or be exploited by them which can leave them hurt and traumatized at a very young age.
Make sure to monitor your child’s usage and talk to them regularly about their online experience to better understand how to help them navigate through such incidents if they ever happen. Such occurrences should also be reported to the server managers so as to create a safer environment for gamers.
6. Grooming Risks and Dangers
Following from the previous point, this is also a very dangerous and common phenomenon being reported these days. Grooming is a process through which predators (mostly adults) familiarize themselves and establish relationships with young children or teenagers, which can ultimately lead to kidnapping, abuse and much worse criminal incidents. Since Minecraft allows users and gamers to chat online on servers or during multiplayer sessions, this can open up your child to a whole new dimension which can end up being unsafe, since people of all ages are present there.
Again, monitoring your child’s online presence and tracking their movements can be very effective. Establish open communication with your teen to make them understand the dangers lurking online, dissuade them from engaging with strangers, and encourage them to report any such happenings instantly.
7. Minecraft Mods can Invite Malware
Even the most experienced gamers and internet users have inevitably had bad brushes with malware like viruses. So, it is a no-brainer that young children are much more prone to accidentally infecting the computer or mobile while downloading free content like mods from online websites that promote the game. While adult supervision and child locks can certainly help in this case, a surefire way to protect your kids and their devices is to use a good quality antivirus that doesn’t allow downloads and installations from unauthorized sources, especially online ones.