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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.

Minecraft Rewards

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?

Image courtesy of Shutterstock.com
  • This is such a popular game these days. A timer for how long they can stay on the device or play a particular game sometimes helps

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  • Thank you for this article regarding Minecraft, I didn’t know much about it.

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  • None of my kids spent that much time on video games or on the internet. Its not that they were banned or anything like that but they actually preferred playing with their friends, reading books or watching tv shows as a family or….I would go into the bedroom an lie on the bed to read my book and they would all come in a lie on the bed and want to talk to me. I gave up trying to read and just hit the bed knowing they would follow within minutes and we would all chat.

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  • A little one with Minecraft obsession?!?! Isn’t that an older child’s game?

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  • I have 6 kids, and they ALL love Minecraft. It’s so addictive we’ve started calling it Minecrack. They could all spend hours playing the game. Everyonce in a while I get on and play too.

    We have it installed on the Xboxs, computers, tablets, and phones. It’s everywhere in our house. My oldest loves playing with the redstone and crafting new things with it.

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  • My nephew loves this game. It was a month out from his birthday, last year, he tells me that his birthday is coming up and i always buy him a gift, so can you get me this minecraft book. He goes into detail with what the book looks like and where I can buy it from. He was 6.

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  • they never used to be till I decided it might help my eldest make friends with a common conversation point and now my youngest is obsessed most of the time still happy to do other things although he loves to talk about it when he is doing those things

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  • We usually set a time limit as to how long she can play it for. If she goes over that time or doesn’t get off it when asked, she is banned from playing for a certain amount of time. Could be a week or a month. Our 13 1/2 year old soon learns.She can be addicted to it.

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  • I think giving them realistic options. Like please turn the game off in the next 5-10 minutes. OK now you can play until the monster or you is dead.etc.

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  • My son, he’s 10, would play it all day if you let him.

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  • I’m glad my almost 6 yr old hasn’t got into playing this! Minion rush took up a lot of our time tho!

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  • yes my son loves Minecraft and I always give him a five minute warning that its time to stop and he only gets half an hour to one hour a day and that is part of his screen time which he is only aloud two hours a day whether it be TV computer games I pod or any other thing that involves staring at a screen if he refuses to abide by this then all electronics are banned.

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  • Very interesting thoughts, thanks so much for sharing!

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  • I’m about to get my kids started on Minecraft. Fingers crossed that we will have it under control!

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  • The kids here love it, we just time limit it and they are ok with that at this stage

    Reply

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