Several months ago, my daughters caught on to the latest gaming craze –Minecraft. For those who haven’t heard of this popular online game, let me answer the first and most basic question.
What is Minecraft?
Minecraft is a virtual construction game. Think Legos for the computer, iPad, or Xbox. In creative mode, players can build imaginary worlds until their hearts are content. In survival mode, players must defend themselves from mobs of monsters, known as “creepers,” using more limited resources.
The “mine” part of Minecraft comes from the large variety of rocks and minerals that players can mine using a selection of tools and instruments. I’ve heard the words “diamond pickaxe” and “gold ore” in my house more than I ever dreamed possible. Using the natural resources gained by mining, players then “craft” other supplies and structures.
Why is it so popular?
In struggling to understand exactly what my children love about this game, I decided to take a look at various Minecraft forums around the internet. In regards to why the game is so popular, there seems to be consensus on a few key points:
- The simplicity of the game.
- The escape of a virtual world.
- The ability to play with friends.
- The unlimited building possibilities.
Whatever the reason, my children cannot stop playing Minecraft. They would rather play it than eat, sleep, or do homework (no surprise there!). When I ask them to complete simple tasks around the house, I often hear “Just a minute,” and know they’re in the middle of building their next masterpiece.
When is enough … enough?
As a parent, there’s much to appreciate about Minecraft. In my opinion, it’s a wonderful outlet for creativity. And, when kids play the game together, it encourages cooperation and teamwork.
However, the longer my children play, the less I like the addictive quality of the game. I recently brought up the subject of Minecraft in a discussion with other mothers and received a collective groan. Apparently, I’m not the only one worried about how much time my children spend playing this game.
Should we pull the plug or set boundaries?
I’ve heard stories of children so involved in the game, that they become belligerent and disobedient. This is not the case for my children. Should they ever behave this way, I would pull the plug on their favorite game in a heartbeat.
In our family, we decided to adopt a few simple rules:
- No Minecraft until homework is done.
- No Minecraft during family dinners, game nights, or movie nights.
- No Minecraft when an adult is trying to talk to you.
- Refusing to do household chores because of Minecraft or playing it under the covers at night results in the loss of privileges.
- A bad attitude about any of the aforementioned rules also results in a temporary suspension of Minecraft.
I plan to continue with this common sense approach to Minecraft. As long as my children can play happily within these boundaries, then I can put up with the nonstop ramblings about creepers, pickaxes, and gold ore. I understand, like all fads, that this too shall pass. In the meantime … craft on kiddos!
What rules does your family have about Minecraft or video games in general? Have you ever felt the need to ban a game completely from your household?