Minecraft is often described as a ‘sandbox game’. This means that players are free to roam a virtual “world” or their own creation where they are only limited by their own creativity. Players use building blocks and resources discovered on the site to create their own gameplay with no goals set by the game itself. With its bright, lego-like design of square heads and chunky colours, the look and feel is very childlike and the age restriction is 7+.
Some of the educational benefits include:
Minecraft can be a lot of fun but also very addictive. It’s important to monitor the amount of time your child is spending on the game. Too much screen time can have behavioural consequences and cause players to become irritable or irrational if they are asked to step away from the game.
Stranger Danger online is a real thing and the primary goal with children is to make sure they are aware of the dangers that poses.
In this particular game, players can interact through text in multiplayer mode. However, should you not wish to interact with other players, the chat window can be hidden. Alternatively, players can block chats from friend requests from within the pause menu.
To minimize contact with strangers, players should only join servers created by people they know in person or set one up themselves.
Strangers can very easily be predators, so it is best to join a well- known and established server. However, if your child comes across a player that makes them feel uncomfortable, they can block and report the player for inappropriate behaviour. Review the game settings with your children if they are playing multiplayer so they have an understanding of how you are trying to keep them safe.
The best way for a player to avoid unwanted bullying or danger is to control who they interact with. This is easily accomplished by creating your own private server where you determine who is admitted into your conversations and game play. Private servers offer a safe and secure place for children to create and play free from unwanted interference.
As with most things, there are unfortunately those out there who spoil the fun for everyone. Griefing is essentially when a player intentionally disrupts another players’s experience for their own personal gain (such as stealing resources). It can even be as petty as damaging environments or setting traps for other players. This can get out of hand and lead to cyber bullying.
Minecraft players can occasionally encounter violence but the game itself is not inherently so. While in creative mode, players may encounter hostile mobs, but they don’t attack. On higher difficulty levels, players are faced with scary creatures that they may need to fight or possibly kill.
Multiplayer mode can be slightly more aggressive where players can set traps for others to fight through or escape.Overall, the block like images prevent the game from from being very realistic and therefore quite mild.
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