Minecraft is a game in which players build structures and landscapes out of three dimensional cubes in a virtual world where players create the rules. If you're confused by your children's enthusiasm for Minecraft then you're not alone. It’s not a linear game with rewards and levels and this is a good thing in that it’s not addictive in that “I must get to the next level” way of computer games.
Minecraft requires some basic maths skills to create structures and landscapes out of the three dimensional blocks as well as providing the following benefits for children’s learning:
In creative mode, you basically just build stuff. This is the mode that you should encourage your children to use. In creative mode, players have unlimited resources and there’s no monsters or threats to your life.
Survival mode is more like a standard video game. You collect food and resources and make your way through various landscapes. You get chased by nocturnal monsters (the game has its own timezone) and generally try to stay alive. When you die in survival mode, you lose all your resources and have to start again. Any structures that you’ve built along the way, however, stay in place.
Different people have set up different games of Minecraft and when you play multiplayer you can join them. You can search for Multiplayer games which people have set up and just start playing with them. This means that your kids are online with strangers. If you are going to allow your child to play multiplayer games then you should strongly consider the following:
Your child or their friends can create their own multiplayer server and allow only people they know to play with them. To do this, when you create your own multiplayer server, you get the option to create a ‘whitelist’. This is where you list the usernames of the people who will be allowed to play.
Another option is to use a family-friendly server such as Intercraften. They claim constant vigilance via the presence of an administrator and ban people who do not comply with their rules.