Minecraft: The video game kids should waste time on this summer
Minecraft is a digital 'sandbox' game – a video game designed to allow users an infinite ways to interact with the game world.
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Minecraft advice for parentsSkip to next paragraph
Anne Collier is editor of NetFamilyNews.org and co-director of ConnectSafely.org, a Web-based interactive forum and information site for teens, parents, educators, and everybody interested in the impact of the social Web on youth and vice versa. She lives in Northern California and has two sons.
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My research turned up some great tips from seasoned Minecraft players, some of them from parents for fellow parents. Here’s a sampler:
- About “griefing”, defined as “the act of irritating and angering people in video games through the use of destruction, construction, or social engineering” at MinecraftWiki.net, which adds that it has become a real problem for server administrators and is probably why people screen potential players or “whitelist” their servers. Another problem is trolling, annoying other players by killing their avatars. These can be forms of online harassment or bullying and can either be tough for emotionally vulnerable kids or a tool for developing resilience, in-world “street smarts,” or strategy, risk-assessment, and social skills. So much depends on the child. There can be a lot of creativity in griefing too, whether offensive or defensive, and – as in life in general – there’s a spectrum between fun pranks and cruel pranks. See these 9 tips for dealing with a griefer in Minecraft at WikiHow and this great advice (whether a player wants to partake in griefing or not) here.
- From a gamer and a gamer-parent: A comment from player “ZobmieRules” at SafeVideoGames.blogspot.com (do a page search for “ZobmieRules,” and this date and time: March 6, 2012 at 5:33. His/her first three words are “To any parent…”, so you could do a page search for that phrase too). Good Minecraft advice for parents by a parent (her kids are 5 and 7) can also be found at GameSpot – do a page search of her screenname VixenWolf11 here. She rates Minecraft “9.5.”
- From another mom: The user reviews at Common Sense Media are much more useful than that of the site’s own reviewer – check out that of 18-year-old “CsomeSence” here (his/her headline is “Clearly no ‘Common Sense’” or search for his/her screen name) and self-professed parent and educator “BayAreaMediaMaven,” who focuses on the potential risks to emotionally vulnerable children here.
- Hardcore safety: For players of this variant of “survival” mode Minecraft, see this at MinecraftWiki.net for 9 meaty survival tips like “build an in-door tree farm” as soon as possible; maintain situational awareness at all times; if a horde of skeletons approaches at the same time as a creeper, the skeletons are probably the bigger problem; and “wear at least Iron armour at all times, replacing it as it gets worn.”