Minecraft1 is a video game that has sold over 23 million copies for PC/Mac platforms alone.2 Minecraft is popular among all ages but has found a particularly strong following among youth. Because it provides tools for kids to design, create, problem-solve, and collaborate, the game offers significant potential for a range of valuable learning opportunities. Educators are harnessing that excitement by incorporating Minecraft into classroom, after-school, and online activities about computational thinking; core math, science, and technology (STEM) topics; storytelling; and beyond.3 However, not only are young people learning with Minecraft in school, they might also play and socialize at home.
It can be difficult for parents and other caregivers to understand the variety of complex ways in which their children may engage with the game, both in the world of Minecraft itself and in activities related to the game (e.g., YouTube videos or online forums in which Minecraft users exchange information about the game). As a parent, you might also be concerned about potential safety risks that your kids may face while engaging with others online.
To help address some of these concerns, this guide describes different ways to play Minecraft, interact with Minecraft-related media and communities online, and learn with the game, as well as some of the risks that young people may face when playing Minecraft. Some of the frequently asked questions (FAQs) below include:
- What does my child do when they play Minecraft?
- How can Minecraft encourage learning?
- Should my child be playing with others online?
- How can I prepare my child to go online?
In this guide, you’ll find key terms (to help you understand your child’s virtual environment), frequently asked questions, and suggestions of other resources. This guide was developed through conversations with the Connected Camps team and written by university-based researchers who have studied how young people are using Minecraft; as such, it is an independent assessment and has not been reviewed by Minecraft. We hope you’ll find it useful as a starting point for helping your child cultivate a positive Minecraft experience across educational, social, and other dimensions.
1. Minecraft, (accessed May 16, 2016), https://minecraft.net/en.↩
2. “Statistics,” Minecraft, (last modified May 26, 2016), https://perma.cc/E5C3-GRGC.↩
3. Clive Thompson, “The Minecraft Generation,” New York Times, April 14, 2016, http://www.nytimes.com/2016/04/17/magazine/the-minecraft-generation.html.↩