- Amanda Bindel, Toca Magazine Writer
Some parents may be concerned about the time their kids spend playing Minecraft, but with the benefits kids can get from this more-than-just-a-game experience, it really can be an amazing creative outlet. Parents can get involved to support their kids in this CRAFT, just as they would other hobbies or interests.
C: Compromise on screen-time rules. As a sandbox game, kids are creating worlds, building them piece by piece. That kind of creativity requires flow — time to be creative and focus. Parents may want to give kids some flexibility and extra time to play so that kids can get creative. Kids may also want some Minecraft-related screen time that doesn’t involve actually playing the game. YouTube channels galore walk kids through how to build or do things in Minecraft, and kids can easily spend hours watching those videos, honing their craft.
R: Recognize the benefits of playing Minecraft. Minecraft isn’t your typical video game. It’s called a sandbox game because, just as kids choose what to do and how to play in the sandbox, they choose what to do and how to play in Minecraft. It’s Pure Play. Kids are creating, building, problem-solving, and sometimes playing socially. Kids are pretty much building a world from scratch — and that’s pretty impressive.
A: Allow kids to experience the social aspects of playing. Minecraft can be played alone, as a single-player game, but kids can also play multiplayer games via servers connecting different players. In the Pocket Edition (on tablets and mobile devices), all players must be on the same Wi-Fi connection, which gives kids and parents a bit more control over whom kids are playing with, though it does require them to be in close proximity.
F: Follow the game. Learn the basic language of the game. There’s a wealth of information about Minecraft on the web, and some of it is created especially for parents who want to learn more about the game. Your kids would probably be thrilled to give you a quick overview of the world they’ve created, including filling you in on some of the lingo. Keep in mind that, unlike video games you may be used to, Minecraft has no set rules and no set objectives — that’s up to the kids creating the world.
T: Talk about their worlds. Kids are investing time, energy and creativity into the worlds they create in Minecraft. Ask them about their worlds. Let them be proud of what they’ve made.