Last month, Mojang, the studio that created Minecraft announced that it has sold over 100 million copies of the video game. Chances are if your child is 6 or older, they have played or are still playing Minecraft. And when they are not playing Minecraft? They’re likely watching a YouTube video of someone playing Minecraft along with millions of others.
Minecraft is huge! But what is it? In the simplest of terms it’s virtual lego. Players appear on a randomly generated map where they can build structures, mine for resources, explore, craft and combat. Players can then share their created world with other players in the game. To get a more in-depth idea about Minecraft, check out this How to Geek Guide to Minecraft.
Kids and adults alike love this game and can often spend hours playing. While there are definitely positives to playing Minecraft, too much of a good thing is also bad, which sadly, can often be the case.
We sat down and spoke with parenting expert, Janell Burley Hofmann to talk to her about how a parent can manage a Minecraft obsession.
Janell Burley Hofmann:
Thanks so much for asking this question. It’s a very popular question, so know that you are not alone! My sons ages 16 & 13 love to game too! And my daughters enjoy Minecraft as well, so I totally understand this culture and issue. Below I’ve listed some evaluation questions to ask when considering on this matter. I think this assessment will guide you to an answer for your kids.
- Have you set iRules (tech boundaries or agreements) around usage? E.g. – time limit, turn off time, periods of time spent without it?
- Is there a change in behavior when time is up or they can’t use it?
- Is usage interfering with school work, family and peer relationships, sleep or other interests and commitments?
- Can they use Minecraft to engage in open-ended or creative play away from the screens?
- Do they sometimes play with family members or peers in a collaborative and social way?
If you spend some time setting iRules, noticing not just that it’s not just about playing, but how they are playing and thinking about the impact on the rest of their life, then you will be able to evaluate if it is too much.
Janell Burley Hofmann is the author of iRules, international speaker & consultant on digital health and balance. She is the founder of iRules Academy & The Slow Tech Movement. Janell’s professional expertise and personal experience as a mother of five children builds strong connections with a wide and varied population. Janell engages readers, clients and audiences in relevant and meaningful conversations igniting personal empowerment, awareness and purpose in a partnership that will positively impact all.
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