All about Minecraft
Many kids have developed the Minecraft fever. This addicting game, often described as a “sandbox game” enables players to create worlds and build structures and all sorts of things using 3D blocks.
Minecraft encourages players to go on an adventure and discover different biomes or habitats. There are hostile creatures (referred to as mobs) like creepers, zombies, skeletons, etc. and non-hostile creatures like pigs, chicken, cows, cats, dogs, sheep, horses, squids, and more. Some animals may be tamed or used for food.
In the world of Minecraft, the sun rises and sets resembling day and night. Expect weather changes like rain, occasional lightning storm, and snow. A player can choose between create, survival or adventure mode. In the survival and adventure mode, you can craft armor, tools and weapons to hunt animals and protect yourself from dangerous mobs.
The game itself is child friendly. A lot of parents think of Minecraft as a virtual Lego game. However, the option of going online and meeting other players may expose kids to possible dangers.
Minecraft is a multi-platform game. You can play it on PC, mobile devices, and different consoles like Playstation, Xbox, and Wii.
According to Minecraft guidelines, one has to be at least 13 years old to play but in reality, many young children engage in the game. Although it goes against the site’s terms and conditions, it is not illegal. The reason for the minimum age is because of US privacy legislation, which requires parents of children under the age 13 to sign permission before being able to collect data about their kids.
Children may start out playing Minecraft on their own and later explore other options like playing with others on the same network. For instance, a child can play Minecraft with another sibling, a family member, or friend on separate devices via LAN server.
Parents don’t have to worry if their child is playing with people they know. In fact, there are several advantages of collaborating with other players on Minecraft. Playing with other people can enhance a child’s social skills, improve his ability to cooperate, learn how to compromise, and boost problem-solving skills.
Danger of griefing
Playing Minecraft on a public server is a different matter because your child encounters strangers.
A major concern when playing with strangers is griefing.
Internet Safety Project defines griefing as “a term that describes the malicious behavior of one online game player towards another player with the purpose of disrupting their game experience. It is a form of cyberbullying. Those who participate in such behavior are known as “Griefers.” They are an unwanted but inevitable part of any online setting despite the efforts that many game companies have put forth to eliminate them. Many griefers work together in teams.
Game Pedia describes griefing as an “act of irritating and angering people in video games through the use of destruction, construction, or social engineering.”
Griefing has become a big problem for Minecraft server administrators who encourage creativity through building.
Jeff, 13 years old was upset when a Minecraft player who went to his “world” blew up the mansion that he has been working on for a long time. He later found out that he had the power to kick the player out of the game but it was too late. He spent days rebuilding what the player destroyed.
Most Minecraft players do not tolerate griefing while others think that griefing is just part of the game. Some players claim that no actual harm is done because they are not damaging or destroying real property.
Griefers may target emotional investments. Young children may find it difficult to understand. Working hard on something only to be callously destroyed by a stranger can hurt their confidence and self-esteem. Griefing may also give kids the wrong impression that bullying is an acceptable behavior.
Griefing may also refer to raiding, stealing, and virtual harassment by intentionally “killing” other players using various combat methods. Griefing also extends to verbal harassment on chat channels.
Here are some safety tips that may help keep your child safe while playing Minecraft.
- Minecraft can be quite addicting. Your child may spend too much time playing the game. It is advisable for parents to establish time limits. Encourage your child to do other activities.
- Minecraft has several player options. Single player is the safest option because no other player can join the join.
- Tell your child not to use his real name as his Minecraft username.
- If you allow your child to use the multiplayer option, make sure you educate your child about the possible dangers of the Internet. Tell your child not to give out personal information to other players.
- There are different ways for players to communicate on Minecraft. The game has a built-in text chat and voice chat in some servers. Parents are advised to monitor their child while using these options. That way you can prevent your child from bullying incidents and inappropriate behavior by other players.
- Choose family friendly servers. Brightpips.com posted a list of friendly servers. Most family-friendly servers have automatic filtering to prevent swearing in chat.
- Explain the possibility of meeting unkind people who will not hesitate to destroy their creations or make things difficult for them. Make children aware that not everyone plays fair.
- Internet Safety Project warns parents from trivializing the investment that their child placed on damaged virtual property because it may worsen feelings of loss. Keep in mind that your child invested time and effort in building and collecting those structures and things.
- Many techniques about real-life bullying may be applied to online bullying to help counteract the effects of griefing.
- If griefing poses a risk to your child’s being, the wise thing to do is to persuade your child to leave the game. You may let him play the game with people he knows instead of joining public servers.
- For older and more advanced players, Game Pedia provides a list of established methods that can prevent griefing such as using Bukkit, installing plug-ins and specific commands.
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Rachel Yapchiongco, also known as Rach to her friends, is a Psychology and Marketing Management graduate of De La Salle University. Rachel is a mom to a charming boy and married to an entrepreneur who has a passion for cooking. She shares parenting experiences and slices of everyday life on her personal blog called Heart of Rachel.