Managing Minecraft with kids is not easy. If kids had it their way, they’d play all day and night.
So how why do “techno-tantrums” result when you ask your child to turn off Minecraft?
Minecraft’s an authentic experience
To adults, Minecraft may look like just a “digital block world” but to kids it’s so much more.
They’re meaningfully engaged with what they’re doing on-screen and this makes it difficult (sometimes really difficult to switch off). They might be collecting food, or fighting off mobs. Whatever the task is, it’s meaningful for your child.
And I think we all understand how incredibly frustrating it can be if we’re asked to immediately cease an activity that we’re engaged in, as adults. Children are still often developing the emotional regulation skills required to cope with such frustrations.
Perhaps they escape from a monster, or they might strike diamonds in a mine, or fight off a mob.
These tasks elicit a positive response in their brain, which in turn gives them a hit of adrenaline and dopamine.
This combination of neurotransmitters can become very addictive and hence, makes it difficult for them to switch off.
Minecraft allows children to explore and play independently
Children can roam around their digital world, without strict guidelines or “rules” (and we all know kids don’t like rules). Unlike today’s “real” world where we have boundaries and strict rules, in Minecraft children are free to explore and roam.
Children love this sense of freedom. And so, they want more and more of it.
Minecraft is a first-person experience
Children are literally immersed in a digital world, as their own “character”. This is very different to many other video games that are often third person experiences.
So children have a genuine emotional investment in the experience. Once again, this authentic experience makes it hard for kids to switch off.
Minecraft is much more than just a game
There are support platforms and peripheral resources and associated products (like books and merchandising).
This means that often their world is bombarded with Minecraft. And this makes it all the more harder for them to ever switch off from Minecraft.
So now you understand why your child is so enthralled by Minecraft.
It doesn’t mean you have to love the game, but at least you now have a conceptual understanding as to why it’s so hard for your child to switch off Minecraft.
Rest assured that there’s nothing wrong with your child if they suddenly become obsessed with Minecraft. You simply need to manage how they use it.
Is your child obsessed with Minecraft? How do you manage it?