Ask a child in your world what their favorite hobby is, and you are likely to hear “playing video games” as one of the most popular answers.
Video games are not only a pastime but also a passion for many kids. It is no surprise that Minecraft has become one of the most loved games by children across the globe – with up to 170 million active players per month. The game offers creative freedom, the opportunity to socialize, and a sense of accomplishment.
However, as a parent, you might have concerns about whether Minecraft is safe for your kids. You may have heard stories about children being exposed to inappropriate content or becoming addicted to the game. While there is no doubt that Minecraft can be addictive, there are ways to ensure that your children are playing the game safely.
In this article, we will explore some of the concerns parents have about Minecraft and offer tips on keeping your kids safe while they enjoy the game. We’ll answer some of the most commonly asked questions, including:
- What is Minecraft? How does the game work?
- Is Minecraft appropriate for kids?
- What are the dangers of playing Minecraft?
- How can I ensure my child is playing safely on Minecraft?
- Are there parental controls or settings I can use?
In order to make sure your child enjoys the learning opportunities and community-building that Minecraft offers while keeping them safe from potential dangers, read on for our tips.
What is Minecraft?
First released in 2011, Minecraft is a sandbox-style game that has no specific goals for players to accomplish, allowing them the freedom to explore and create in the virtual world. The game consists of cubes representing different materials, such as dirt, stone, water, and lava, which players can break down and rebuild into whatever they imagine. Players can also interact with mobs (animated creatures) that can be either friendly or hostile.
Over the past decade, Minecraft has become one of the most popular games in the world, with kids and adults alike. The game is available on multiple platforms, including PC, Mac, iOS, Android, Xbox, and Playstation.
Minecraft’s building and logic-based gameplay can encourage kids to think creatively, solve problems, and develop strategic planning skills. The game also offers opportunities for kids to socialize with other players in multiplayer mode. This has made Minecraft an enticing option for parents and teachers looking for a game that their kids can play safely.
How Do You Play Minecraft?
Minecraft was designed on the concept of freedom. There are no specific goals for players to accomplish and no right or wrong way to play the game. This allows players the opportunity to use their creativity to build whatever they can imagine in the virtual world.
Players begin the game by creating a character and then are free to explore the infinite world of Minecraft. The game consists of cubes representing different materials, such as dirt, stone, water, and lava. Players can break these cubes down and use them to build whatever they can imagine.
Players can also interact with mobs (animated creatures) that can be either friendly or hostile. Hostile mobs will attack players, while friendly mobs will not. The game has many different types of mobs, each with its own behaviors and abilities.
There are several aspects of Minecraft that are incredibly enticing for children:
- Animated Creatures: The ability to interact with various animated creatures can appeal to kids.
- Unlimited Possibilities: The freedom to explore and create in the virtual world is why Minecraft is so popular.
- Multiplayer Mode: Kids can connect with other players worldwide in multiplayer mode, which offers opportunities for socializing and collaboration.
What are the Benefits of Minecraft?
Before we dig into the potential dangers of Minecraft, it’s important to understand the many benefits that the game can offer.
1. Players can express themselves creatively
The freedom to build whatever players can imagine in the virtual world of Minecraft allows for a lot of creativity. This is one of the main reasons why the game is so popular with kids and adults alike. Studies show that creative play can help kids develop important skills like problem-solving, critical thinking, and spatial awareness.
2. The game can teach kids to think logically
In order to be successful in Minecraft, players need to think logically in order to solve puzzles and complete tasks. This type of gameplay can help kids develop cognitive skills such as planning and organization.
3. Minecraft can encourage teamwork and collaboration
Minecraft’s multiplayer mode offers kids opportunities to connect with other players from around the world. This can be an excellent way for kids to socialize and learn how to work together as part of a team.
What are the Potential Dangers of Playing Minecraft?
It’s essential for parents to understand the potential dangers of Minecraft before allowing their kids to play the game. Although the game is generally safe, there are some risks that parents should be aware of:
1. Players can be exposed to inappropriate content
Since players can interact with other players from around the world in multiplayer mode, they can be exposed to inappropriate content such as swear words, sexual references, and violence. It’s important to talk to your kids about staying safe online and monitoring their play to make sure they’re not exposed to anything that makes them feel uncomfortable.
2. The video game can be addictive
Many kids become so engrossed in Minecraft that they start to neglect other important aspects of their life, such as school, homework, and social activities. It’s essential to set limits on how much time your kids can spend playing the game and make sure they’re still maintaining a healthy balance in their life.
3. The game can be expensive
Minecraft is a paid game, and players can make various in-game purchases, such as new skins and textures. If a child is unaware of the game’s monetary value, they may rack up a large bill without realizing it. Talking to your kids about responsible spending and setting up parental controls to limit in-game purchases is important.
4. The multiplayer environment can be stressful
The competitive nature of multiplayer mode can be stressful for some kids, especially if they’re not used to playing games online. If your child is feeling overwhelmed or anxious, taking a break from the game and talking to them about their experience is important.
Tips for Staying Safe when Your Child Plays Minecraft
Now that you understand the potential risks of Minecraft, let’s take a closer look at some practical steps you can take to keep your kids safe while they’re playing the game:
Does Minecraft Offer Parental Controls?
One of the problematic elements of Minecraft is that the game can be played on a variety of platforms and devices, including smartphones, tablets, computers, and game consoles. This can make it difficult to set up parental controls that work across all devices. Plus, its online multiplayer games features makes it easy for children to engage with many people across the world.
That being said, there are some steps you can take to limit your child’s access to the game to ensure they’re only playing on devices that you’ve approved. For example, if your child is playing on a smartphone or tablet, you can set up parental controls through the device’s operating system. You can also control some game settings that restrict how your kids play with the Minecraft world.
Read on to learn some of the basic settings you can control and steps you can take to protect your child:
1. Controls of Adding, Muting, and Reporting Minecraft Players
Within the game, engaging with other players is a big part of the experience. To protect your child from inappropriate content, it’s essential to know how to add, mute, and report players within the game. Knowing what each step entails can help ensure your child only interacts with players you approve of.
Adding a Player:
If you want your child to be able to play with a specific person, you can add them as a friend within the game. To do this, you’ll need to know the player’s username. Once you have their username, you can add them as a friend by opening the Friends List tab and clicking the “Add Friend” button.
Muting a Player:
If you want to prevent a player from communicating with your child, you can mute them within the game. To do this, open the Friends List tab and click on the “Mute” button next to the player’s name. This will prevent the player from sending messages, voice chat, or joining the same game server as your child.
Reporting a Player:
If you want to report a player for inappropriate behavior, you can open the Friends List tab and click on the “Report” button next to the player’s name. This will send a report to the Minecraft team, who will review the player’s behavior and take appropriate action. The specific device your child plays Minecraft on may also review the reported issue and act accordingly.
2. Setting Permissions for Minecraft Players
Another way to protect your child while they play Minecraft is to set permissions for players. This will allow you to control what players can do when they’re interacting with your child’s account. Setting permissions impacts a variety of actions another player can take with your child, such as:
- using objects your child has built in-game (door, switches, etc.)
- attacking your child’s character
- accessing the child’s “Minecraft realms” where they’ve been playing
To set permissions, you’ll need to log in to your child’s account and navigate to the Settings menu. From there, you can select the “Multiplayer” option and choose which players can interact with your child’s account and in what ways.
3. Enable or Disable Chat Features
One of the most important settings to be aware of is the chat feature. This setting will determine whether players can send messages to your child while they’re playing the game. If you want to protect your child from inappropriate content, it’s best to disable this feature.
To do this, you’ll need to log in to your child’s account and navigate to the Settings menu. From there, you can select the “Multiplayer” option and then toggle the “Chat” setting to “Off.”
4. Create a Whitelist of Approved Minecraft Servers
Another way to protect your child while they play Minecraft is to create a whitelist of approved servers. This will allow you to control which servers your child can connect to and play on.
To create a whitelist, you’ll need to log in to your child’s account and navigate to the Settings menu. From there, you can select the “Multiplayer” option and then toggle the “Whitelist” setting to “On.” Once you’ve done this, you can add approved servers to the whitelist by clicking the “Add Server” button.
If you want to ensure that your child plays on only family-friendly Minecraft servers, there are a variety of options available. A quick search online will show a variety of friendly options you can choose.
Higher-Level Parental Controls for Minecraft
As you can see, the parental controls within Minecraft itself are quite limited. However, there are steps you can take to help increase your child’s safety and security while playing the game.
1. Add Platform-Level Parental Controls
Depending on the platform that your child accesses Minecraft on, you can increase the level of protection by adding parental controls at the platform level.
For example, if your child plays Minecraft on an Xbox One, you can use the Xbox Family Settings app to set restrictions on what content can be accessed and played. Similarly, if your child plays on a PC, you can use Windows parental controls to set restrictions.
Adding these extra account-level restrictions and controls can help to better protect your child while they play Minecraft.
2. Use a VPN for Added Protection
Another way to help protect your child while they play Minecraft is to use a VPN. A VPN, or Virtual Private Network, will encrypt your child’s internet connection and prevent their IP address from being seen by other players.
There are a variety of VPN providers that offer family-friendly features and plans, depending on your needs. For example, NordVPN offers a variety of features that can be specifically tailored for families, such as CyberSec – a setting that blocks ads and malware.
3. Discuss Online Safety with Your Child
One of the best steps you can take to boost safety when playing the video game is to open up a dialogue about online safety.
Talk to your child about the importance of not sharing personal information, such as their name, age, address, or phone number. Let them know that they should never agree to meet up with someone they met online in person and that they should tell you if they ever feel uncomfortable or unsafe while playing the video game.
By having these conversations with your child, you can help them to stay safe and make good decisions while they’re playing Minecraft.
4. Consider a Parental Control App
If you want more control over what your child does while playing Minecraft, you can consider using a parental control app.
Parental control apps allow you to track your child’s online activity and set restrictions on what they can do and access. Plus, many offer device-level controls and monitoring, which can help to keep your child safe even if they’re not playing Minecraft.
Plus, you can take your parental controls beyond Minecraft itself to every other game your child plays and the internet sites they visit.
5. Use a Minecraft Modpack With Parental Controls
If you want more control over what content your child can access while they’re playing Minecraft, you can consider using a modpack that includes parental controls.
A modpack is a collection of mods, or modifications, that change the way Minecraft looks and works. Many modpacks include a wide variety of mods, such as those that add new blocks, items, and mobs. These can help you keep Minecraft safe when your kids play the multiplayer game, as well as boost their capabilities in creative mode.
Some modpacks also include mods that add parental controls, such as the ability to blacklist certain words or player names. Plus, many modpacks offer the ability to set up a whitelist of allowed players, which can help keep your child safe while playing.
6. Keep an Eye on Your Child’s Activity On and Off Minecraft
Even if you take all the necessary steps to help keep your child safe while playing Minecraft, it’s still important to keep an eye on their activity.
This means monitoring the types of servers they’re playing on, the players they’re interacting with, and the content they’re consuming. Plus, it’s essential to have regular conversations with your child about their Minecraft activity and any concerns they might have.
Minecraft has built such an impressive online community that many players take their experience to other online platforms, such as Youtube and Twitch. On these sites, players can share their own gameplay footage as well as watch other content.
If you want to keep an eye on your child’s Minecraft activity, it’s important to monitor their activity on these platforms as well. This will help you better understand the type of content they’re consuming and the people they’re interacting with.
Help Your Child Stay Safe on Minecraft with Kidslox
So, is Minecraft safe for kids? The answer, like many online games, is within reason. The game’s creative mode and survival mode can help children learn new skills and make friends online.
As a sandbox adventure video game, it’s one of the best on the market for engaging children with fun content. However, playing multiplayer Minecraft can bring a variety of risks, and the Minecraft violent nature can, at times, be concerning.
Minecraft isn’t going anywhere soon, and with the online world becoming increasingly more connected, it’s essential to take steps to help keep your child safe while they’re playing. By taking the time to educate yourself on Minecraft’s parental controls and settings, you can help to keep your child safe while they’re playing the game.
One of the best ways to help keep your child safe online is with Kidslox. As a leading third-party parental control app, Kidslox makes it easy to manage your child’s device usage, set limits and restrictions, and monitor their online activity. Plus, Kidslox can be used to block Minecraft and other games and apps, as well as internet sites.
Monitor all of your family’s devices with a single Kidslox account, and help your children learn how to interact with the web in safe and responsible ways. Head online to learn more about how Kidslox can help you keep your child safe while online!