A Parent’s Guide To Minecraft
- Parents Only
By: Emily O'Brien, ellaslist
Curious parents want to know what Minecraft is, whether it’s safe and what really goes on during a game. So we’ve asked around and investigated for ourselves. Here’s what we’ve found out.
Minecraft Is Fun
It's a sandbox style game created by Swedish programmer and gamer Markus “Notch” Persson. In Minecraft, you build, create, develop and maintain yourself and your created community. You can also make allies. It's a game where the players create the rules, and it's non-linear, meaning you don't have to get to the next level or anything like that. There’s also combat, but solely at the player’s discretion.
There Are Three Game Modes
In this “normal version” mode, you’ll need to find food, ward off monsters at night, build housing and craft items to survive. If your character dies, no worries. Respawn and continue playing. Survival mode best resembles a typical video game.
No monsters here. This mode is meant solely for building things, and you’ll have as many resources as you need at your fingertips. You can also fly and watch the sun rise and fall. There's no combat in Creative mode and a great place for kids to start.
For experienced players only. You only have one life to live here, so if you lose it, your whole Minecraft gaming world will be toast.
How To Get Started
You’ll need to be online to download the game, but then you can play offline whenever you choose. Create a login and start building your first world.
Things To Keep In Mind
- First things first, create shelter.
- A day in Minecraft lasts about 10 minutes.
- If you’re in Survival mode, the monsters come out the very first night. Be ready to attack!
- Careful when digging directly underneath you. You can fall straight down. If it’s starting to get dark, find shelter for the night by looking for an enclosed area (like a shallow cave or large tree) and fill in exposed areas with blocks to turn it into a house.
Is It Safe?
Kids as young as 6 or 7 can start playing the game, but we recommend only using Creative mode for this age group. There is an option for kids to connect online and play with each other through the multiplayer function, however, this is completely optional. We suggest skipping this function unless you choose to Whitelist, allowing only a friend connection to known friends (similar to a private Facebook group). (A quick google search will point you in the right direction if you want to look in to how that's done.)
It’s Not Just For Boys
As a parent of an 8-year-old girl, I naively assumed this game was only geared toward boys. I could not have been more wrong. My daughter absolutely loves it.
If you're still feeling unsure, why not play with them? You could watch as they construct buildings and create communities. Another thought is to put some time limits on screen time exposure and set rules around what you feel most comfortable with, maybe only sticking with Creative mode to start.