Get a quick, clear understanding of this hugely popular game via, RoosterMoney’s parents’ guide to Minecraft
Lost in a strange world, all of your child’s own making? Don’t worry! Minecraft is actually pretty easy to understand, control and maybe even enjoy with your kids. Here’s our parents’ guide to Minecraft for kids.
What is Minecraft?
Minecraft is the most popular video game of all time. Since its launch in November 2011, it has sold over 200,000,000, and attracts around 126 million monthly players. Many of them are adults, but it’s more popular with children. In this guide we will focus on Minecraft for kids. There are quite a few different versions of the game, but the most popular one – simply called Minecraft – lets you build your own world. You can create a landscape; mine stone, collect wood and gather other materials; craft houses, tools and weapons; tend livestock, such as pigs and chicken; and defend yourself against baddies such as spiders and zombies. There are also clever ‘recipes’ for things you can craft; get some seeds, and some water, and you can grow a tree!
You can play it on pretty much every device, including Playstations, Xboxs, Macs, PCs, Nintendo Switches, iPhones, iPads and Android handsets. Pricing varies, from £4.99/$6.99 for the game on an Android device, through to £39.99/$49.99 for the PC Windows 10 Master Collection, which also comes with a bunch of in-game currency (mine coins), a number of ready-made worlds and some other add-ons.
Is Minecraft safe for kids?
Part of Minecraft’s popularity lies in its inherent safety. Though there’s a little bit of fighting, and a few ghoulish characters (or ‘mobs’ as they’re called in the game) it really is among the tamest, least threatening games you’re likely to find on any console. Minecraft is rated PEGI 7 in the UK, meaning it is deemed suitable for kids over the age of seven; and 10+ by the US ratings body ESRB, indicating that it’s best-suited to children ten and over. You may want to play the game with your son or daughter and work out whether you think it’s right for them.
Kids can, however, spend quite a bit of money on the game’s downloadable content, such as skins (new looks for a character); texture packs (new looks for the Minecraft worlds); and in-game currency.
There’s also a slight danger that players might end up talking to strangers, via multiplayer modes.
Is Minecraft suitable for seven-year-olds?
Going by the PEG rating, Minecraft does seem good for seven year olds. There’s a little violence, but it’s mainly a constructive game, with plenty of fairly healthy game play.
How to manage paying for things on Minecraft, via parental controls
Minecraft money can be a stressful subject, and the thought of your child talking to a stranger is a bit of a worry. Fortunately, plenty of consoles offer ways for you to control Minecraft, if you feel it’s getting out of hand.
Xbox parental controls
The Xbox has strong family, online safety, and parental control features that let mums and dads decide on purchases. You can also limit screen time, manage online safety and privacy, and take hold of any purchase decisions.
Playstation parental controls
Playstations also have good, strong parental controls, which allow mums and dads to set screen limits, monthly spending limits and restrict interaction with other players.
Nintendo Switch parental controls
The parental controls on the Switch let you switch disable purchases, restrict screen time, withhold games according to age rating, and prevent your son or daughter from interacting with other users.
Microsoft parental controls
Microsoft bought Minecraft back in 2014. If your child is playing via a PC, you can set parental controls via a Microsoft account. It’s here that you can restrict screen time, block adult content, and require approval for all payments.
Also, you could also connect these accounts to your child’s Rooster Card, and transfer over just enough for the thing they’d like to buy. Find out more about managing your child’s Playstation account via the card here; for more on the ways to manage an Xbox account via the card, go here.
What if my child is playing Minecraft too much?
Many of the parental controls above allow you to restrict the amount of time spent playing a game or looking at the screen. You can put restrictions in place there, if you are worried about the amount of time your son or daughter spends in Minecraft’s digital worlds.
However, you might want to try playing the game with your kids a little, to get a feel for whether or not it truly is a bad influence. The constructive, Lego-like nature of its gameplay might make you change your mind.
Once you’ve played together, maybe you’ll find it a little easier to talk about gaming limits. The World Health Organisation certainly warns against inactivity caused by screen time. Maybe you could off-set gameplay with a bike ride, a swim or a walk? In fact, you could work new goals into a reward chart.
Teaching kids about money
Minecraft isn’t simply a threat. It can also be an opportunity to teach your kids about money. You can connect a Rooster Card up to plenty of the payment accounts, and discuss with your son or daughter how much they have, and how much they’d like to spend. Setting spending goals and limits helps children appreciate the value of money. You could even talk about how Minecraft came to be worth so much. Microsoft paid $2.5 billion for the game six years ago; today that looks like a wise choice. How do your son or daughter’s purchases contribute towards the game’s profitability?
How do you manage Minecraft with your kids? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and it might get featured in a future blog!