This week, we opened up our new Maker Space to host a Minecraft Club. As you may have guessed, it was extremely popular and something we’ll have to do again soon. The space was buzzing with excitement and it’s easy to see how Minecraft is one of the most popular games of all time. As a parent and school leader, it was very reassuring to see that the students that came along were not only engaged with their constructions (we play in CREATIVE mode only and we can’t play unless we play with a friend) but they were interested in what each other was building. They talked with one another, shared their creations, taught each other new tricks and of coursed bragged about their Minecraft skills. Social interaction for the Minecraft enthusiasts is alive and kicking.
Of course like everything our kids are interested in, balance is key. Too much of anything is not good for the holistic development of a child, so I did some research and came up with the following post from www.CommonSenseMedia.org:
Is it OK to let my child play Minecraft for hours?
An open-ended building game with seemingly endless possibilities, Minecraft can be mighty engrossing. On the plus side, Minecraft can reinforce geometry concepts as it strengthens players' thinking and reasoning skills, creativity, and even collaboration. The game has a strong, positive online community and even has an educational module teachers can modify for classroom lessons on different subjects. On the downside, as you've discovered, it's a time suck. Even "good" games can be played to excess, and homework, chores, family obligations, and real-world social activities can take a backseat when kids can't - or won't - stop playing. And even if your child is learning from the game, other areas of life are important, too. Help your kids self-regulate. Start by having a conversation about all their daily duties and figure out how much game time fits in. Create a calendar, have them set a timer, and reward them for sticking to the time limits. If you've tried this and want more control over their screen time, consider installing a parental-control program that lets you set daily screen limits for different programs.
Great advice! And as I’ve mentioned before in this column, don’t be afraid to get involved in what your children are doing on their iPads or their computers. Challenge yourself to learn the difference between a wither, a zombie and a creeper. Or go and ask your child where their nether portal leads. Your Minecraft-obsessed child will love it and you might too.