What is Minecraft?
Minecraft is a virtual 3D Lego-like building game for the computer, where the player is free to make anything they want. It is a great way to encourage creativity and helps to build on team skills and working together to reach personal goals.
Is Minecraft safe for children?
Certainly, if it is used correctly and if you are restricting whom your child is playing with. However, there are many public servers for Minecraft that allow players to talk to complete strangers through a chat. Minecraft does not have any graphic content, but there are monsters such as spiders and zombies. However, the monsters in Minecraft are very cartoon-like.
The Different Versions of Minecraft
There are currently 3 versions of Minecraft for different platforms (gaming devices):
The PC version is by far the most used and provides a large variety of user-made servers (A place where many people from different places can play together) to play on, where the likelihood of your child meeting a complete stranger online is almost certain. However, if you do not wish for your child to be playing on a public server with strangers, they may create their own server and only the people they invite will be allowed on it..
The mobile version of Minecraft is available for iOS Apple and Android devices, and has a smaller community, but still allows players to play and communicate with one another. There is a huge reduction in the risk associated with this version of the game, but there are fewer features than the PC version.
The console version of Minecraft is available for Xbox and PlayStation, and is pretty popular, but still has a high risk of meeting a complete stranger. However, making a private server where only your child’s friends can play on it is very easy.
How can I keep my child safe?
Be aware if your child is playing online. From the main menu, you can click on Multiplayer and view a recent history of servers. If you need to block access to a server, block the server IP using a firewall or router.
Family-friendly server options exist, such as Blocklandia, Sandlot, and Mindsquish. Not every server that calls itself family-friendly actually is: Look for a server that outlines its rules on their website, offers whitelisting and uses a strong chat filter. Read reviews about the server and look for servers that encourage parents to play with their children.
If you notice your child spending too much time playing, establish time limits and talk to them about their own goals, both in the game and off the game.
Note that user-constructed "Resource Packs" and game mods might contain malware and teach your children not to download anything without your permission.