As a parent, you’ve probably heard or read about Minecraft at some point. After all, it is a very popular video game among children with over 100 million copies sold.
You might be wondering, is Minecraft appropriate for kids? Does Minecraft have blood, gore, or violence? Does Minecraft have educational benefits? This complete guide for parents will answer all of these questions for you.
In a nutshell, Minecraft can be described as a video game where players adventure in a randomly generated world of “blocks”, which can be used to build different things. It’s basically a video game version of Lego.
For an introduction to what the game looks like, consider watching the official trailer below:
Minecraft is an “open world sandbox” game where players start in a randomly generated world of blocks. The blocks are arranged as they would appear naturally in the real-life wilderness.
There are stone blocks, grass blocks, tree blocks, flower blocks, and many more. Players can gather these blocks and use them to build different things. For example, players can gather wood blocks from trees to build a wooden house.
Players can adventure away from their starting point to discover underground caves with valuable ores (like iron or diamonds), other areas (forests, beaches, oceans, etc.), shipwrecks, and more. Players may need to adventure away to acquire specific items that are not found at their starting point. For example, to add glass windows to your house, the player may need to locate a beach with sand to make the glass with.
Minecraft has a comprehensive “crafting” system. Specifically, this means players can convert specific combinations of blocks into other blocks. The crafting system is intuitive and can be educational. For instance, you need sand to craft glass, paper to make books, and wood to make doors. Players often need to do math to calculate what they need for crafting.
At nighttime and in underground caves, monsters such as zombies and skeletons can appear and attack players. To help battle these monsters more easily, players can craft armor and weapons. This aspect of the game is what concerns most parents as children can be exposed to some elements of video game violence (more on this topic in the next sections).
What age is Minecraft appropriate for?
In general, most parents will agree that the ages of 7 or 8 are appropriate for kids playing Minecraft. However, there are variables that can be changed that may increase or lower this recommended age. For example, the game can be set to “peaceful” mode and no monsters will appear. This “Minecraft for kids” version of the game would make it appropriate for even younger audiences.
An important variable to consider is that the game can be played online. Online game play should be reserved for higher ages such as 12 and up due to the interactions with strangers.
Is there violence, blood, or gore in Minecraft?
Minecraft does not have blood and gore, but does contain mild elements of violence. Players can craft weapons and attack monsters such as zombies and skeletons. However, attacking the monsters simply knocks them back (no blood) and when they die they simply fall over and vanish (no gore).
READ MORE: How To Stop Mobs From Spawning in Minecraft
What are the educational benefits of Minecraft?
The game inspires creativity and encourages critical thinking. The game is actually used worldwide in classrooms and Minecraft has an entire department dedicated to education. There are countless things to build in minecraft and stimulate the mind. Minecraft has undeniable educational benefits for children.
Can parents play Minecraft with their children?
Absolutely! You can play with anyone on the same internet connection or on an online server. To play on the same internet connection, simply start a single player game on one computer, press “escape” and press the “open to LAN” button. On a second computer, start the game and click multiplayer, and the server *should* pop up in the list of options. You may find it fun to play and build with your children.
Another option is to rent a server, which allows you to skip the step of “open to LAN” every time you play, and lets people join from anywhere in the world (you can restrict who is able to join). Server companies such as BeastNode offer options to pay a few dollars a month to setup a server for you. It’s all automatically done for you, so you would just sign up, click a button to start the server, then join using the IP address provided by them.