My Life

Children of Minecraft

So my kids love Minecraft.

However, when they started playing with friends, online, I noticed that the servers they played on were filled with a fair bit of inappropriate conversation. Given that I didn’t want to be looking over their shoulder the entire time they played I eventually created my own server. I still monitor it a bit — to ensure they are not being obnoxious to one another — but I was curious about how other parents handle stuff like this.

I come from the games industry and was often frustrated by the negative commentary from media — and some people, including those I knew — that disparaged video games for being violent nonsense. After I had kids though and started seeing how other parents parented, I was shocked by the hypocrisy. People might grumble about videogames but they are sure pleased to be able to throw their kids in front of them. And so many kids play completely inappropriate games — games that clearly state they should only be played by adults. (And I won’t even go into the whole issue of watching inappropriate movies — my kids get to see very few of the blockbuster type movies, yet almost all of their peers have seen them.)

Sometimes I think we are overly strict about monitoring the media our kids are exposed to (and the amount of time they are allowed to play games or watch shows). At other times I think other parents are just inept and bloody lazy.


(And as a sidenote, in case this sounds overly grumpy, I’ve found a good use for our old home phone line. The kids use it as a direct line — on speaker phone — to their friends, when they play Minecraft together. A side benefit of this, despite the constant noise, is that we get to pay attention to how our kids talk to their friends.)

(Okay, a second sidenote. I do have to admit to a bit of sadness. It used to be that my kids wanted to play Minecraft with me. Now, unless I find a particularly exciting mod, they don’t want to play on the server with boring old dad.)

Former lead designer at BioWare (Dragon Age: Origins, Neverwinter Nights). Creator of Raiders of the Serpent Sea.