Despite Minecraft was never designed specifically for kids and teens, they somehow became the vastest demographic obsessed with the game. If you have kids between 8 and 14 years old, all you can hear about is Minecraft, all you can see is your dear child glued to the tablet with an enchanted countenance, all you wish for is a teaspoon of understanding what’s the big deal with Minecraft and kids? Let’s look into this mystery together, I surely want to know what is going on!
Minecraft Is An Online Lego
I bet when you were 12, you raved about all those huge Lego sets – castles, pirate frigates, starships! But what you liked the most is to mix them all up and create something new – like “The space pirates assault on the Medieval castle and what happens then”. The most interesting part was to build something entirely new from all those pieces, create anything you wanted.
Then destroy it and do something even more awesome! That is what they do in Minecraft, only they even create all those blocks from scratch. It gives them freedom of expression. Children create their own worlds in their own way and then they go inside and play within this world of theirs – how mind-blowing is that? Yes, graphics are blocky and blurry, but the first-person view is very immersive.
It’s A Never-Ending Story
The moment one adventure is finished, another one emerges, each achievement opens the door to new tempting possibilities, so there is absolutely no way children and teens can be bored. They are unable to break this circle voluntarily unless you get them out of the game by force.
Minecraft is addictive because like any other video game, it was created to put the player into the state of flow where one thing leads to another, always keeping them focused and interested. However, it does so in its own special way, because there is no end goal, no instructions – just a medium with endless possibilities – and of course, your imagination to create your own stories.
Minecraft Makes Them Learn
Yes, children love learning as long as you do not call it learning. Because of the outdated educational system that persists in the majority of schools, children think that learning is always boring because in their world it means sitting still and cramming for good grades. In fact, our brain is hard-wired to enjoy learning, we virtually get high on exploring and finding new ways to do stuff, and back in prehistoric times, games were created for this single purpose – teach us new skills.
So basically, all kids do is learning – and Minecraft is not an exception. They learn to solve puzzles, they learn to dig up the necessary information in the Minecraft Wiki, they seek the advice of the more experienced peers, they search the Internet – and boy will they need those skills later in this cyber world of ours!
It’s A Paleolithic Experience
Minecraft’s gameplay… Well, that is confusing. Basically, you fend off monsters in the night, and in the day you create tools to survive, using the raw materials you find around you. That’s it. The rest is up to you. Your game is what you’ll make it be. Sounds much like a life in primordial times, doesn’t it? No wonder tweens and teens are so obsessed with it – in the times of our ancestors that’s what they would do being 12 years old – trying to start an independent life out in the wild, make it as comfortable as they can get with few tools they have, explore and survive as long as possible.
Minecraft is so enjoyable because it provides the experience that matches their behavioral and developmental needs on this stage of their ontogenesis, mimicking the development of our species. If it sounds too far-fetched, think why 5-year-olds love running around with sticks and bats like complete savages, bashing everything on their way. Now think how older teens are all into Tolkienesque and medieval stuff.
Minecraft Experience Is Not Limited To The Game
Ever wondered where all those hours your child spends on YouTube go? Chances are they watch others play Minecraft. Recording your gameplay and creating those YouTube videos is another way to share their experiences and boast what you’ve achieved and created. They watch those videos in order to learn tips and tricks about the game. Those recordings are tutorials, where game gurus share “secrets of the trade” (or should I say “craft”?) So kids watch them to find out, what they can do next and how they will achieve it.
Minecraft has created a huge community, and this feeling of fandom bonds surely is familiar to anyone whether their devotion lies with “Star Trek”, Marvel comics, “Harry Potter”, or whatever. Children play together, talk about Minecraft, read about it, watch others, even create Minecraft-inspired arts and Halloween costumes.
Minecraft Is Their Usual Childlike Games In A Cool Adult Form
This sandbox game is absolutely irresistible because it combines the most addictive features of video games with play activities that are so natural to kids – imaginary adventures in a fantasy world, chase, make-believe danger, and of course, building from blocks.
Children just do what they used to do, only in digital space, so they feel cool and mature instead of childish. Yet nothing makes them feel as badass as discussing Minecraft before their gaming daddies and mommies – “check is out, folks, I am just like you!” However, sometimes they are absolutely not ready to navigate all the pitfalls of this medium.
The Downside And What Can You Do About It
Kids are always super passionate about everything that fascinates them (we all remember them going through this “pink princess” and “superhero” stage). However, how do you tell this usual childlike obsession from the addiction? If your kid does not recognize reasonable limits and throws a tantrum, when the time comes to put away the iPad and do anything other than building, exploring, and butchering cubical sheep – you probably have a problem on your hands.
If after the tantrum, their only consolation is in watching tutorials on YouTube or talking to their buddies about the wretched game over and over – something definitely ought to be done about it. If your child lies about the time he or she spends in the game, plays it secretly, is restless, moody and sleep-deprived – you must take immediate steps.
Firstly, you should negotiate limits and make your child sticks to them. You may want to monitor their device with Pumpic, McAfee, Clean Router or other similar parental controls, to make sure the little rascal in not mining away in the class or at night, when you are not watching. For safety reasons, you can also create your own private server only for your family to play. This will ensure that no stranger will bother your kid in the common chat and no griefer will ruin the game for them.
Secondly, you should play Minecraft yourself – it would help enormously because you would have a common ground to start from, a shared experience. Make it your mutual hobby, show your appreciation of what the game has to offer (and that’s a lot, as we’ve had a chance to convince ourselves). Then set the example, teach them how one can enjoy video games in a healthy, not an insane way.
Also, find out whether your kid is mature enough to play the game – understands the mechanics, does not struggle with controls and obscure features, and is not scared of monsters.
Minecraft is a chance to teach your kids how the world of video games can add value to our daily life without taking over it, for there won’t be long before another obsession heaves into sight.