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Minecraft



Summary


If you've got a child who's diving headfirst into the world of gaming, chances are you've heard about Minecraft. Minecraft is rated for players 10+ due to its fantasy violence, user interaction, and in-game purchases. However, after turning off the chat system, this game could certainly be enjoyed by kids aged 7 years and up, or, even younger with adult supervision and help getting a handle on the mechanics of the game.



Minecraft is more than just a game, it's a “sandbox” world where you can be creative, and the only limitation is your own imagination! A sandbox game is an open-world interactive experience that lets players explore, build, and change the virtual world however they want. In the world of Minecraft, players can safely build their dream castle, explore caves, fight off enemies, and meet strange animals. There are two editions of Minecraft. Minecraft Java Edition is available to play on Windows, Mac, and Linux. Minecraft Bedrock Edition is available on Windows 10 and 11, Xbox One, Xbox Series S and X, PlayStation 4 and 5, Nintendo Switch, Fire OS/TV, Android, iOS, Windows Mobile, and Samsung Gear VR. The difference between the Java and Bedrock editions are that 'mods' can be used with Minecraft Java Edition (mods are modifications made to video games to alter or add to the original content). The Bedrock Edition, on the other hand, works on more devices, but mods can't be used as much. People who like to play on a computer and want to make a lot of changes to Minecraft usually choose Minecraft Java Edition. While people who like to play on a computer usually choose Minecraft Bedrock Edition. In the end, it is a matter of preference on what is “better” and it depends on the person and the type of game experience they want. But overall, there is not too much of a difference for your child, so we wouldn’t put too much emphasis on which version you get. We have included below some other differences for you to consider. The only thing to note is that if your child wants to play with their friends, they will need to play on the same edition. If they do not have the same edition, they cannot play together as the editions are not compatible.



Gameplay


Minecraft gives players a free world that they can explore, create, and build. Players can use blocks to build structures, mine for resources, make tools, and craft just about anything. The game is open-ended meaning that it can go on as long as the player likes, there is no official end although there is a final boss. The game's famous blocky style is the basis for its complex building system that lets players change the way their world looks however they want. There's more to it than just surviving, there's also the pure joy of finding amazing things by accident when exploring the world, like a naturally formed arch in a mountain or a secret oasis underground.


 

Throughout the game, different modes can be played. The main play modes are 'survival' and 'creative' (handy tip you can switch between the two during the game!). In survival mode, players must gather resources and defend themselves against enemies. Players must make sure that they don’t get hurt from hunger, dangerous animals, and the dangers of nightfall. Your character can die, so it's important to play carefully and strategize what you build first and where. In creative mode, players have unlimited resources and can focus on building and making things without having to worry about possible dangers of the world. Players can build anything from a simple hut to a huge dream castle. This mode is a much more relaxing experience and better for less experienced gamers or people wanting a chilled-out game experience. Each game mode also has four difficulty settings; peaceful, easy, normal, and hard which let you choose your difficulty to further tailor your gaming experience. Additionally, survival mode in Minecraft: Java Edition also has a sub-category mode called “Hardcore” where players only receive ONE LIFE. Now that’s a challenge!


 

The Minecraft community has also made their own worlds, minigames, mash-up packs, adventure maps, mods, and a lot more for people to play. This gives you a lot of variety if your child wants to experience the game in lots of different way. Most of them will cost extra money to access, but they can be a fun way to change up the game and try something new!


 

Education


Minecraft has become a great way to teach people while having fun. The focus on creativity and problem-solving in Minecraft makes it a great game for learning through play. The game's many options let players use their imagination, build complicated buildings, and come up with ways to get around problems. Players are more likely to think outside the box and try new ways to reach their goals when there aren't any strict restrictions. Not only can they practice creativity and problem-solving on their own, but they can try it with their friends too! Minecraft creates a constantly changing space where imagination can grow and allows children to have a safe place to learn to problems solve and express themselves.


 

Minecraft is also a fun way to learn about science, history, and building all at the same time. The game's world is made up of square blocks, which make it easy for players to learn about geometry and spatial awareness. They can build blocks on top of each other to create new structures and buildings which requires an understanding of basic shape and construction knowledge. Also, a lot of elements react with each other to create new craftable items. For example, when a water source block flows into a lava source block, it has a chance to create cobblestone. This interactive way of learning goes beyond traditional methods and gets young players interested in the things they are learning but in a fun way!



Violence/ Adult Themes


Minecraft has built its world and characters with a blocky box design adding to the game's fun and playful vibe. While there are enemy characters, minor weapon use, and some dark areas, the overall content is very relaxed to ensure that younger people can safely play. As combat is part of the game, some elements of mild violence exist. Players can craft and collect weapons including swords, bows, TNTs, and more. This is so that they can defeat both passive and hostile characters in the game to either protect themselves or gather materials to craft. They can even damage other players if playing in multiplayer mode. There are a few different enemies you will come across in the world of Minecraft. There are characters like skeletons, zombies, spiders, witches, dragons, creepers, and more! When players are attacking another character, the character will flash red when hit and when their health is depleted, they simply disappear. When a character is hit, a quiet tap sound can be heard. There is no blood and no screams, and it is certainly not graphic at all.


 

Your character's health is represented by hearts at the bottom of the screen. When you take damage, the hearts will go down. While your screen may also shake a little bit after taking damage (camera shake can be turned off in the menu settings), again you will not see any blood or graphic detail. When you die, your character turns red, falls to the ground, and quickly disappears. A title screen will then appear saying that you have died and give you the option to respawn and come back alive to continue. Overall, Minecraft puts a lot more focus on being child-friendly so the content is very relaxed and does not contain any graphic of adult content.



Monetization


Minecraft is available to play across most platforms. While you can trial the game for a limited time for free, to enjoy the full game you will need to pay a one-off fee of anywhere between $7-$30 depending on what platform you purchase the game. The official in-game currency in Minecraft is called Minecoins which can be used to purchase extra downloadable content (DLCs), add-ons, and different skins and items for your character. These can be earned through participating in special events, trading, completing achievements, or, purchased using real-life money. Downloadable content (DLCs) and microtransactions are also a few ways that Minecraft makes money besides the initial purchase of the game. You can also buy things like texture packs, new skins, and expansion packs to expand your gameplay experience in Minecraft. While it may be worth spending a bit of money on extra content, don’t worry too much about spending money on cosmetics as they do not give any advantage to your gameplay, and you can earn cosmetics through leveling up.


 

Minecraft also has a subscription-based transaction called Minecraft Realms Plus. This allows people to create their own private servers and gives subscribers access to free Minecraft Marketplace maps, skins, and new content. The big benefit is that the Marketplace changes each month regularly updating its content so you can always get new and engaging content.


 

Safety


Minecraft can be played solo or online with friends and other players online. If you want to play solo mode, make sure that you are playing in single-player mode by making your own world and ensuring that in the settings before you start your world the multiplayer mode is switched off. This will ensure that no one can randomly join your world and your child can safely enjoy their game on their own.


 

If your child wants more of a challenge and to explore the Minecraft community, they can have the option to play multiplayer mode and join other servers. This can be done with friends or with other random players online. You will need to be aware that there are some different settings with the different editions. In both editions there are multiple ways players can text chat including;

  • Realms Chat - While in a Realm server, anybody in the server can send and see messages in the chat system.

  • Server Chat – While in a Server there is a chat system for players to send and view messages.

  • Signs - Players can use in-game items called ‘signs’, to display text.

  • Book and Quill – This is another in-game item that can be used to write text.

The text chat settings can be turned off in the settings to ‘hidden’ so that only set text commands can be used making text strictly limited to set phrases. There is also the ability to mute or block people as well. As signs and books are not really text chat but can record text, they cannot be turned off but they are automatically censored. Voice chat can be available using a separate app or a game modification, so it is not readily available in the game itself. If your child is playing the standard game, then voice chat should not be an issue as long as people don't ask them to join. Additionally, the game automatically censors and filters any swear words or inappropriate language during the game as ####.  You will also need to be aware that players can still message through their console of choice not just in the game such as PlayStation or Xbox chat systems. 


 

There are parental controls available on the Bedrock Edition, however, your child must have set up a ‘child account’ in the first instance. Then, as the parent you will need to set up a Microsoft account set up and associate the already-created child account with it. Once this is set up you can adjust the settings such as who can communicate with your child and who can send friend requests. There are also additional parental settings if your console has this available so be sure to check on your console settings as well.   



Tips and Tricks


Getting familiar with Minecraft can be quite difficult for any new player of the game, especially for younger kids and less experienced gamers. For an easy way to learn how to play Minecraft and learn how the game works, there are a few players who play and record themselves playing Minecraft in a fun and family-friendly way. One player is known as Stampy who is a YouTube commentator for plays a lot of Minecraft and other games in a way that is absolutely suitable and safe for children. He has about 9 million subscribers with his biggest fan base being aged 6-14 years old. If you want (or your kid) to check it out, you can find his Minecraft videos here https://www.youtube.com/@stampycat/search?query=minecraft. In fact, Stampy’s real-life best friend iBallisticSquid also plays and records Minecraft and other games that are kid-friendly too! You can even catch them on a few videos together for a great family-friendly laugh. If you (or your kid) want to check out his videos, they can be found here  https://www.youtube.com/@iBallisticSquid/search?query=minecraft


 

 

 


 







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