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Minecraft – why I stopped playing it with my kids

Tuesday, 7th August 2012 10:22 GMT By Patrick Garratt

Minecraft is an amazing game of endless possibilities. Which is one of the reasons Patrick Garratt’s stopped allowing his children to play along.

Minecraft evidenced what I already knew about my children: that their capacity for fearless exploration and imaginative construction is off the chart. I’m wary of them using that power on a computer screen.

“Can we play a bit of Minecraft, daddy?”

I was too used to saying yes. My twin boys – they’re coming up to four years old – love Minecraft, and it’s obvious to see why. You can build anything, go anywhere. We explored together, put up a large house on a hill with a glass roof, visited snowscapes and deserts. We dug tunnels, had little tantrums over whether to dig for coal or go look at the lava pool for the fiftieth time, and we’ve planted special trees in our garden. We even learnt about smelting and metal ore.

Minecraft truly is an amazing feat, but I’ve cut it short, for the same reason we only let them watch TV at the weekend. They were asking for it all the time.

The reason I let them “play” Minecraft at all – they stood next to the PC in my office and shouted instructions at me – is because it’s essentially a toy. They marvelled at the discovery of it all and it clearly fired their imaginations (as it did mine, I hasten to add: I’ve put in plenty of hours myself). But it started to become a “thing”. If I ever refused to let them play it, and told them to go into the garden or look at some books, they’d start crying. I could see them getting sucked in, and I didn’t want to allow it. When Minecraft 360 came out, I loaded it up and they sat watching. Then they started asking if they could play it on the TV every day. It didn’t make me feel comfortable.

There’s plenty of time for gaming when they’re older. Minecraft, as with all successfully addictive games, is endless. My kids’ childhood isn’t, and I want them to spend it learning about the real world, not a virtual one. The Minecraft community is hellishly inventive and consuming to the point of oblivion, and so we have mods, texture packs, giant updates – such as the recent version 1.31 – and all the rest of it. It won’t stop. Instead of teaching my boys to read, I was showing them how to make a pretend house. I wasn’t sure why I was doing that. So I stopped.

I will let them use it again, but only on rare occasions when they’re a little older. It’s not just Minecraft; it’s good games in general. They started watching me play on 3DS – with the slider all the way down, of course – and they think Freaky Forms Deluxe is funny. But, again, give them too much and they come back every day wanted to make another creature, to do another dungeon. If I let them, they’d play it for hours instead of interacting with each other and getting outside. It’s quality software – just as Minecraft is – and it does its job of holding attention. I just can’t help believing my children’s focus should be elsewhere.

Minecraft evidenced what I already knew about my children: that their capacity for fearless exploration and imaginative construction is off the chart. I’m wary of them using that power on a computer screen.

Sorry, boys. You’ll have to wait.

[Minecraft skins wallpaper by Dan.]

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72 Comments

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  1. G1GAHURTZ

    Pat, you do realise that about 90% of your reader base probably grew up spending a minimum of about six hours a day gaming?

    #1 2 years ago
  2. blabla13

    “told them to go into the garden or look at some books, they’d start crying”

    “I want them to spend it learning about the real world, not a virtual one”

    The garden thing I can get, but how is reading a book (particularly books intended for 4 year olds) more “real world” then a video game?

    Another question is when your telling your children to go do something else, are they actually doing something more valuable?

    #2 2 years ago
  3. trav

    Had the same thing with my three-year old though this was with Lego Batman 2. He comes up and asks if we can watch Batman, which means he wants me to play it.

    It’s nice, because he’ll sit on my lap and watch me play, but I’ve been trying to limit the amount of time he sits and “plays” with me. He is three and supposed to be running around and finding snails and bugs to freak his mum out with.

    It’s nice that he is getting into the same hobby as me, but there is plenty of time before he starts beating me at everything. Not looking forward to that day. :(

    #3 2 years ago
  4. OrbitMonkey

    @2, Your right, the ability to point and click far outweighs being literate.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. DrDamn

    Why are video games different? It seems video games are somehow inherently bad and other things like books are inherently good.

    In fact Minecraft in the way you describe and how I play with my 4 year old watching and instructing is a lot more beneficial than looking through a lot of books.

    Judge each experience as an activity not as “playing a video game”. Balance is important obviously, but learning that is part of the growing process. Just because they ask for it constantly doesn’t mean you should stop it dead – if it’s beneficial then control the use but don’t stop it just because they cry when they can’t. That’s avoiding an issue not addressing it.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. Ireland Michael

    @1 Then they had lazy, irresponsible parents.

    My parents allowed me two hours at most every night to play games, with slightly more time on weekends, and only after chores and study were done. The rest of my time was spent reading books.

    My sister enforces those rules will her own kids (she’s even more strict, one hour a day), and I do the same with mine. And they’re better off for it. Six hours a day in front of a video game every day is neither emotionally healthy nor physically healthy.

    @2 “how is reading a book (particularly books intended for 4 year olds) more “real world” then a video game?”

    This has got to be a joke comment. Obviously it’s not “real world” in the literal sense. It’s far more productive in the long run for your child though. There are few skills in this world more crucial than literacy.

    @5 “Why are video games different? It seems video games are somehow inherently bad and other things like books are inherently good.”

    It’s fine in moderation, and it doesn’t have to be daily either. The benefits of physical exercise, fresh air, reading books and learning far outweigh the benefits of any video game.

    I let my kids enjoy stuff like Minecraft and LittleBigPlanet, because it indulges their inherently creative natures, but that’s certainly not a nerve that needs to be twitched “6 hours a day”.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. OrbitMonkey

    @5, Ask your five year old to give you a written instruction, smile at his incomprehension of “words”.

    Books? Far to much like hard work.

    #7 2 years ago
  8. blabla13

    @4, I know I am right since I have yet to see a video game that features text.

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Patashnik

    I’ve had to do the exact same thing with my kids and minecraft.

    It’s not that games are inherently ‘bad’ – it’s just too easy for them to fall in to the trap of it being at the forefront of their minds.

    It provides a great deal of mental stimulation without having to put in much effort. After a while, they forget that there are other things out there to do – and long term, it makes them irritable.

    Kids need to be reminded that there’s plenty more out there to do – they just need encouragement…

    #9 2 years ago
  10. Timurse

    I remember myself in 1993 playing the amazing Aladdin game on my Mega Drive 2. We were sitting with my mom in the room. She was reading books and newspapers and I was playing. But as guys mentioned above I had only 2 hours a day.

    Most of my free time I was hanging out with my fiends outdoors: playing with sticks as swords, using small fireworks in the woods, walking up the river near our area, exploring abandoned building sites, etc.

    Hell, even when I was 5 years old (1991) I was allowed to be in the courtyard of our huge house (like 400 flats) and play in the sandbox and around slides with other kids. My mom was just looking at me from the window from time to time. And that was around not really peaceful time in Moscow, Russia.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. OrbitMonkey

    @8, Are you suggesting that it’s not important to be literate as Videogames don’t feature text?

    On a scale of 1 to 10, can you guess how stupid that sounds? Tip: it’s above 5.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Kalain

    @6

    My child, who is 15 now, spends a lot of time on his PC but that hasn’t stopped him from being part of the school Rugby team as well as the local Juniors Rugby team. He has read all of the books we have bought him to the point where we are considering getting him a Kindle so he can carry on reading the books that he wants without them taking up so much space in the house.

    He has a very active social life where he speaks to his friends, arranges things to do over it as well as play the games they like to play.

    And on top of all that, in his last results he was getting, on average, B’s in his exams, since they can’t get A’s until the end of the next school year. Myself and my wife are very proud of what he has achieved and we don’t push him to do something he doesn’t want to do, or has no interest in.

    He plays LOL and Minecraft as often as he can when he has finished his activities, especially more so since it’s now his holidays.

    So does that make me a lazy parent?

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Ireland Michael

    @8 That’s severely simplifying the point.

    As someone who grow up on console RPGs, I’m well aware of how much reading you *can* get out of a video game. But those are much rarer experiences now, and there’s something seriously wrong if a video game is a kid’s only form of literary education.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. blabla13

    @11, The internet hid my sarcasm I guess. the point was that Video games do feature text, and so do aid in learning literacy. Also if you look at my original post, I never said ANYTHING about literacy there. Ironic, isn’t it?

    #14 2 years ago
  15. DrDamn

    @6
    “It’s fine in moderation, and it doesn’t have to be daily either. The benefits of physical exercise, fresh air, reading books and learning far outweigh the benefits of any video game.”

    Physical exercise and fresh air are obviously providing different benefits. Reading books and learning are a greyer area though. You can learn a lot through creative play – particularly at this sort of age. I would argue constructive gaming with parental supervision and involvement can be very beneficial whilst being a lot of fun. There are issues around wanting to do it all the time but you find a balance and they learn from that process too.

    Any TV and game-like playing on consoles or iPad my kids do I make sure is beneficial in some way and also balanced with other things. I just don’t like blanket responses which imply all gaming or TV is bad and they would be much better off reading a book which is obviously great regardless of content.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. DrDamn

    @13
    “That’s severely simplifying the point.”

    So was @4 to be fair.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. blabla13

    @13 I was replying to a simple reply with a simple answer. I didn’t talk about learning to read and write, and somehow I’m pegged as “anti-literacy”. Go figure.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. Ireland Michael

    @15 “You can learn a lot through creative play – particularly at this sort of age.”

    Which is exactly why I said this:

    “I let my kids enjoy stuff like Minecraft and LittleBigPlanet, because it indulges their inherently creative natures, but that’s certainly not a nerve that needs to be twitched “6 hours a day””

    “I just don’t like blanket responses which imply all gaming or TV is bad and they would be much better off reading a book which is obviously great regardless of content.”

    I don’t think anyone here is saying that all gaming is bad. That would be a tad ironic, wouldn’t it? =P It’s all about moderation.

    I think its pretty clear from Pat’s post that the kids weren’t respecting the idea of moderation, and that it was better to cut the cord than let them stay attached to it.

    @17 Then what *is* the issue, if its not the value of literacy? Because obviously we’re all confused.

    #18 2 years ago
  19. dk0

    I love that the majority of comments condemning reading over playing video games are written with appalling grammar.

    #19 2 years ago
  20. Ireland Michael

    @12 Sorry, just saw that now.

    Well, if its doing that well, is that physically active, and enjoys that many social activity, his life clearly doesn’t resolve around video games, does it? So obviously, you’re doing a pretty good job.

    There’s nothing wrong with having a hobby, obviously. He’s 15 though, so that’s a completely different dynamic right there. He’s more capable of making healthy decisions and informed actions, so he understands the concept of moderation for himself. A 4 year old is not.

    #20 2 years ago
  21. _LarZen_

    I think children should start as early as posstible with gaming, especially iPad games. Here in Norway some kindergardens use iPad to stimulate and educate realy young children.

    Games like Minecraft wil let children and grown ups for that mather stimulate the creative part of the brain. The more that part is stimulated the more creative I belive the children wil be in other parts also.

    But gaming as all other things must be controlled. If a child sits hours after hours the parents aint doing their job…

    #21 2 years ago
  22. G1GAHURTZ

    @12:

    No it doesn’t. It makes you a fairly normal parent with an obviously very intelligent boy who’s living an active life that involves playing video games for an amount of time that you’re both comfortable with.

    Ignore these individuals who are inventing a fairytale youth where they were happy to obey their parents at every available opportunity, and had the happiest of upbringings.

    #22 2 years ago
  23. Ireland Michael

    @22 If you think 42 hours of gaming a week is emotionally or physically healthy, you’re absolutely deluding yourself.

    “Ignore these individuals who are inventing a fairytale youth where they were happy to obey their parents at every available opportunity, and had the happiest of upbringings.”

    Nobody is even remotely saying that. Mountains of molehills.

    Obviously as kids plenty of us had our times of rebellion against our parents, but as grown adults with our families of our own, some of us are actually capable of looking back at how our parents raised us, seeing why they made the decisions they made, and respecting them for it.

    #23 2 years ago
  24. DrDamn

    @19
    I love that someone criticising grammar clearly hasn’t read and understood the posts. Which ones are condemning reading over playing video games?

    @18
    “I don’t think anyone here is saying that all gaming is bad.”

    No I realise that, it’s more the implications of some statements which place certain activities above others with no caveats.

    #24 2 years ago
  25. G1GAHURTZ

    “@22 If you think 42 hours of gaming a week is emotionally or physically healthy, you’re absolutely deluding yourself.”

    Quote me.

    Go on, I dare ya!

    #25 2 years ago
  26. DrDamn

    @21
    You can get some great stuff for young kids on tablets. Both my kids (4 and 2) have been using the iPad since they were 18 months. (NB: in moderation obviously).

    Young kids learn a fantastic amount through play. Good and well structured apps can be very good for them.

    You do have had issues with them always wanting it, but that is something you work on with careful moderation. We’ve come to a good situation with the older kid who will play happily for a reasonable amount of time and then voluntarily finish and want to do something else. The younger girl still needs some work :) – not in terms of finishing but in terms of wanting it on sight.

    #26 2 years ago
  27. blabla13

    @24, Maybe he meant commending? ;)

    #27 2 years ago
  28. Ireland Michael

    @24 “No I realise that, it’s more the implications of some statements which place certain activities above others with no caveats.”

    Well, I can’t speak for anyone else, but my mother put a book in my hand at 2 and a half years of age, and I still thank her for it to this day.

    @25 “Pat, you do realise that about 90% of your reader base probably grew up spending a minimum of about six hours a day gaming?”

    Six hours a day = 42 hours a week.

    Hilariously, you completely ignored the post where I agreed with him, mainly for the sake of another one of your pitiful attempts at deliberately antagonising people to satisfy your self-masturbatory complex.

    @26 Hey Dr. Damn, do you have any personal suggestions for kids in the 10 – 13 range? The kids absolutely adore my iPad, but I haven’t had much luck finding anything good in the way of apps like that.

    #28 2 years ago
  29. G1GAHURTZ

    You did fail with that quote, O’Connor…

    “@22 If you think 42 hours of gaming a week is emotionally or physically healthy, you’re absolutely deluding yourself”

    Try again.

    Where did I say that 6 hours a day was a good or a bad thing?

    Quote me.

    #29 2 years ago
  30. majicship

    This raises an interesting point. Games have become the new wooden toys. If playing games keeps a child happy and content with its play, why restrict it. You wouldn’t take a wooden toy away from a child just because they were playing with it a bit too much would you?

    #30 2 years ago
  31. Ireland Michael

    @30 If it was the only thing they wanted to do, and they stopped wanting to spend time with people, and didn’t want to focus on their learning because of it… yes.

    #31 2 years ago
  32. blabla13

    @18, To restate my original post, the issue is the books were portrayed as being more “real” then video games since books are part of the “real world” and video games are not. Edit: note the quotes I used in #2.

    #32 2 years ago
  33. Ireland Michael

    @18 Which is simplifying the issue. It’s a case of moderation. Pat obviously felt they were enjoying the game at the expense of far more important things.

    #33 2 years ago
  34. G1GAHURTZ

    Nothing to say, O’Connor…?

    #34 2 years ago
  35. tenthousandgothsonacid

    lolconnor == http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Victorian_Dad

    #35 2 years ago
  36. blabla13

    @18 I never objected to moderation or even referred to the amount of time a child spends in this or that activity. I was referring to the portrayal of the activity and the values associated with it.

    #36 2 years ago
  37. DrDamn

    @28
    Aren’t you also glad someone put a joystick in your hand at some point too? :) My kids have a huge amount of books. They are only 2 and 4 but they have a 4 shelf book case downstairs just for their books along with a similar amount upstairs in their bedrooms. We read with them during the day and always a couple of books at bed time. There is a place and time for them to do other stuff like iPad and video games too though.

    Apps for 10-13 range? Any particular area? Something like Quarrel is great for word play – Scrabble meets Risk. It gives out lots of useful info on meanings of words too.

    I did look recently for Maths based stuff for ~10 year olds as I do a thing called Number Partners at a local school. Essentially go in and play maths based board games with a small group of 10 year olds. Couldn’t find much but didn’t look for long.

    #37 2 years ago
  38. viralshag

    @35, Fantastic. This bit really made me chuckle:

    “An early episode sees him on Christmas Day presenting his son with a stick and hoop as a Christmas gift…”

    #38 2 years ago
  39. G1GAHURTZ

    @37: Try mathletics. It won’t work on iPad, because of the lack of Flash, but obviously PC should be fine.

    http://www.mathletics.co.uk

    #39 2 years ago
  40. silkvg247

    Well nobody should tell you how to raise your own children, but if it were me, I’d reward them with an hours gameplay for good behavior. I’d feel like a hypocrite if i outright banned them. :D

    Games like minecraft encourage creativity, which is an awesome thing. Crayons and paper do the same, but it’s more fun when it’s so interactive.

    #40 2 years ago
  41. OrbitMonkey

    Gee lets go off topic and start bringing up educational software. Pat stopped his kids playing Minecraft, which I’d say has zero real world application (if theirs a creeper outbreak tmro I’ll apologise).

    He told his kids to read a book… Reading a book has plenty more real world applications, such as being literate, improving conversational skills and hardening the skin against papercuts.

    #41 2 years ago
  42. uomoartificiale

    Ok, just throwing my thoughts in this long discussion…

    maybe the issue is with the quality of videogames (all videogames, the past ones and the new ones as well). We all agree that stories in books have a far better narrative in both quality and tone than all the videogames we ever played. And for grown ups, or even teens, movies are a better choice if they want to gain a profound and complex approach to human emotions.
    The only game that I (finally) found on par with those other “noble” mediums is Journey. Well, if there was a huge canon of games thoughtfully crafted from an artistical standpoint as Journey, then maybe our perspective would be different.

    …but then maybe you have to read some books before really appreciating Journey. That’s what human knowledge and art is really about: interconnection between different realms. There’s no such thing as a meaningful solipsistic activity. If it’s worth something, it refers something else, it suggests you something new…

    #42 2 years ago
  43. DrDamn

    @41
    What does real world application mean? Minecraft can encourage creativity, logic, design – what’s not real world about those?

    #43 2 years ago
  44. blabla13

    @41 Could you clarify what you mean when you say “literate”? which of these definitions are you using:

    1.
    able to read and write.
    2.
    having or showing knowledge of literature, writing, etc.; literary; well-read.
    3.
    characterized by skill, lucidity, polish, or the like: His writing is literate but cold and clinical.
    4.
    having knowledge or skill in a specified field: literate in computer usage.
    5.
    having an education; educated.

    #44 2 years ago
  45. Ireland Michael

    @37 The gaming was a self sought hobby, which was only supported when I had the money to do so. As a kid with a £5 allowance every week, that took quite some time. Hahaha.

    Thanks for the suggestions.

    @38 Funny quote, since we don’t celebrate Christmas. We teach the kids that you don’t need special occasions in which to treat people nicer when you could just do it anyway.

    But fuck yeah, top hat and monocle!

    #45 2 years ago
  46. DrDamn

    @42
    It’s not about games replacing what books provide – it’s about whether they can be beneficial or not in their own right. It doesn’t matter if games have rubbish stories if they are providing benefits in other ways.

    #46 2 years ago
  47. DSB

    It’s a cute point to make, but isn’t it also pretty banal?

    If a small child is constantly begging you to do the same thing over and over again, then the only rational thing is to limit it, because clearly they’ve gone into that monomanic mode where nothing else matters, and that’s never going to be healthy.

    And certainly much less so if it were actually indulged by you as a parent.

    It doesn’t really matter if it’s putting together puzzles, reading stories or playing soccer. Those might be good things when you consider them on their own, but ultimately so is moderation.

    #47 2 years ago
  48. deathm00n

    First I’m Brazilian and I’m not so sure if my english is good, but I have only one thing to say: I wouldn’t be a sucesfull programmer without the amount of time I’ve spent playing videogames(and it’s a lot of time, like 10 hours of the day every day), but before you all come saying that books would have been better, I agree with that, that’s why I have more than $1500 worth of books in my house. About playing outside: I didn’t had many chances to do that because I live in a farm, and you can’t imagine how boring it gets to play without friends because you live too far and you had only 2 real friends that really went to your house and when they were there they wanted to play videgames. My point is: you can’t limit your children to only play videogames or to only read books, what you need is to see what they really like to do and with this activity create a fun way to learn, since I was so interested in games, my mother made me play flash games that were meant for children and really thought something. Thanks to all that I’ve decided what I want with my life, and I want to be a game developer. Videogames develop the capacity to think logically, you know how hard it is to play a final fantasy game when you don’t know english and have to discover what all means by try and error? I’ve learned all the english I know by playing a videogame, never had an english class until college.

    I’m not saying you should let your kids be like me, but they should have the chance to try what they want, either it is a game, a book, a sport, and you should let them choose what they like

    #48 2 years ago
  49. OrbitMonkey

    Literate, can reed and rite and stuff.

    #49 2 years ago
  50. Ireland Michael

    @48 Good viewpoint, with some valid point.

    Like DSB said, it’s simply a case of not doing things too much. Just don’t let you kid becomes so obsessed with something that can’t act normally without doing it.

    P.S. Your English and spelling is better than half the native English speakers on this site.

    #50 2 years ago
  51. viralshag

    @45, You say that now but the Victorian Dad in you then slips off on Christmas day to open all the cool computer games you bought yourself…

    #51 2 years ago
  52. Ireland Michael

    @51 Pretty much.

    It’s worth it for the top hat and monocle.

    #52 2 years ago
  53. blabla13

    @49 The reason I ask is to clarify the difference between teaching reading and writing to someone (first definition) and being well-read (second definition). In the first case, it doesn’t matter what you use, it could be a video game, a sign post or a newspaper, all your looking for is the mechanical ability to make sounds out of squigly lines. In the second case, I doubt a 4 year old (the example in the article) is reading Dostoevsky.

    P.S in THIS post, I am talking about literacy.

    #53 2 years ago
  54. absolutezero

    Pat I never picked it up from the article itself but when you shoo your boys away from the TV/PC once the correct amount of Minecraft time is completed, do you go with them?

    #54 2 years ago
  55. OlderGamer

    Good luck Pat, because of your job, I think your going to have a hard time keeping your kids from gaming. And they are only 4yr old, wait till they are 8, 10, 14. Pushing them away from games will just make em want to play more, imo. Now, if you didn’t play at all, that would be different. Maybe.

    Not telling you how to handle your kids, but I think your walking down a idealistic, rightious path. And I don’t think it will lead you to where you want to go. I am not sure such a place exsists. Esp for a father who makes a wage off of the games industry.

    It is an increasingly digital world. And despite the stuff they teach us as parents, there is a reality that extends beyond time limits and filtering out gameplay experiences. It isn’t all black and white about being the parent, putting your foot down and setting the rules. That stuff is stuff non parents like to spew.

    I think you might be best to embrace games. Better to teach then to dismiss. Because keeping games from your kids will just drive your kids to wanting to play more games. Like I said, it is just the world we live in.

    personaly I think time limits are fine. So long as they aren’t extreme. None of the TV on weekends only stuff lol. Take each day one at a time, why should sat/sun be different then tuesday? What does that teach? And lastly, #54 is right. You have to not play. Parents lead by example. If you want them to play no more then an hour a day, then that is your time limit as well.

    That: “do what I say, not as I do” stuff died in the 1970s. And besides, it just doesn’t work.

    Fundementaly your asking your kids not to play less, but to WANT to play less. And unless you expose them to things they want to do more(that maybe you do with them) rather then games…your setting yourself up for a parental nitemare.

    Just my two cents.

    #55 2 years ago
  56. Mike

    I don’t see the point of the article as it’s not reflective of a normal family. Good or bad, kids watch an amount of TV on a daily basis. Not letting them is then, by default, an extreme action when compared with the norm. According to the article, Banning them From games stems from the same school of extreme thought. So who is the target audience here? It seems like it’s just “I have an extreme opinion that I want to share.” which is fine, obv. But usually an article has a purpose and engages the reader in a way that they can relate to te author. Banning TV for 5 days a week is saying “I’m not like you and I don’t share the same value set.” again, that’s cool, but what then is my motivation for a) reading on and b) takin the following argument seriously? However, Pat’s approach to life is his best quality and what makes me like him.

    However, I agree 100% with oldergamer. I don’t want to shelter my children. I want to help them navigate. I participate in their use of TV an computer an I regulate it.

    Different strokes etc.

    #56 2 years ago
  57. DrDamn

    @56
    Well it’s provoked a page of debate on a fairly important subject – so regardless of the content the result is good.

    Also tend to agree with OG/Mike. I think by removing it completely you are avoiding the issue rather than dealing with it. If you acknowledge it’s something they enjoy and can get something from then you need to help them understand how they should use it. That said all kids are different and all parents have different approaches. Do what you think is best for your family. :)

    #57 2 years ago
  58. Mike

    Provoking debate is easy. I mean, just post any extreme opinion and you’ll provoke debate. If Pat was talking from the viewpoint of an average parent (one who lets his kids play games and watch TV on a daily basis) but still banned Minecraft then the discussion would be more nuance and inclusive. All this article is saying is “I have completely different opinions than most of you on media and parenting, here is one of them.” Basing argument on a standpoint that the majority disagree with doesn’t exactly make for a convincing argument, is my point. People who you listen to are people who you can relate to. It’s the first rule of rhetorical analysis: Ethos. There is no Pathos or Logos here either.

    However, it’s Pat’s site and he can do what he likes. but if it was designed to make anyone think twice about video games and children, I don’t think it would have even made a dent because of the reasons listed above.

    #58 2 years ago
  59. knuck

    @48 Brazilian here too and couldn’t agree more. Videogames are great for learning languages/basic logic. Plainly disallowing your children to play them is at the very least counterproductive.

    I’m not going to argue the whole shenanigans about books vs videogames, as just reading all these victorian dads’ posts just make me frown, but you can be sure that within 1-2 generations the notion that videogames are inherently bad (which many have already attempted to deny having such ideals in this topic) will be considered nonsense.

    #59 2 years ago
  60. TheWulf

    http://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/freedom-learn/201207/all-work-and-no-play-make-the-baining-the-dullest-culture-earth

    Sometimes I worry that this is happening to Western society. Childhood tends to be the best years of the lives of well-adjusted people, and so it should be. It shouldn’t be broken, miserable, and full of work. Cutting them out of something completely will only cause problems. More and more as time goes on.

    Everything in moderation, no extremes. Don’t cut it out all together, but don’t let them play it all the time, either. Put you foot down. If you’re worried that they’re not learning enough about the real world, put them on a ‘merit’ system, there are many good suggestions out there for this.

    So that if they do so much learning, they get so much time with Minecraft.

    I just think that robbing them of means for creative outlet in that regard is a bad idea, Pat. Everything – everything in moderation.

    #60 2 years ago
  61. Kabby

    Buy some Lego and build it with them instead.

    #61 2 years ago
  62. viralshag

    Lego really is one of the best toys you can buy kids, in my opinion anyway.

    #62 2 years ago
  63. DrDamn

    @61
    Or buy some Lego and build it with them *as well*.

    #63 2 years ago
  64. deathm00n

    I’m happy some people agree with me, thanks.
    But what about Pat? He didn’t comment since we started the discussion, tell us, what are you really going to do now that you’ve seen our opinions? We can see that the majority here agree to reduce the time but not cut it out suddenly.

    #64 2 years ago
  65. hawaii727

    Okay, here’s what i think. Minecraft is a great, fun game that is not to violent and very creative as well. Kids playing Minecraft at that age will benefit from it (as long as you don’t help them all the time). Minecraft helps younger kids with reading and vocabulary, also with older kids it helps them with basic mathematical formulas and problem solving. (if i want a bookshelf, i need to cut down 3 sugar cane since 3 sugar cane = 3 paper, and 3 paper = 1 book, and 3 books is all you need for a bookshelf, besides wood) Also, MC helps kids with geometry. (i need to fill a hole 3x3x4 hole with water, so how many water buckets do i need to fill the hole?) And other questions like that. Also, MC servers can build social skills, though they might be exposed to swearing. As long as you discipline them to take turns and play for a limited time (which is easier to do when they’re young), you are all set! Go Minecraft Education!

    #65 2 years ago
  66. Digital Bamboo

    Personally, I think Pat made the right call here. It became a problem, so he nipped it in the bud. All the reasons he gave were valid.

    IMO 3-4 is too young for a child to draw much benefit from playing video games, or watching TV, and their energies are better spent elsewhere. Gaming will be no less magical if they don’t start playing until they’re 7, & they’ll probably be a better person for it.

    #66 2 years ago
  67. DarkElfa

    If I had a choice between my child playing games and reading half the crap in this comment section, I’d staple them to a console.

    It’s scary how many of you claim to be parents and yet act like complete asses on here.

    *those who take offense to his agree that they are the ones who have behaved like asses*

    #67 2 years ago
  68. Gigabomber

    Should have played minecraft over writing this. You folks sure make some interesting choices with what you write about while still staying safe by not actually drawing any real conclusions about what playing games that young might turn them into.

    #68 2 years ago
  69. hanleybrand

    Not telling you how to handle your kids, but I think your walking down a idealistic, rightious path. And I don’t think it will lead you to where you want to go. I am not sure such a place exsists. Esp for a father who makes a wage off of the games industry.

    I don’t understand this attitude – if the author was an evolutionary biologist, would you say he shouldn’t try to keep pathogens from his kids?

    What a parent does for a living doesn’t mean that they have to let their kids in on it. With video games a parent might have to keep work at work even more, but just because someone reviews video games doesn’t mean they can’t monitor what their children do.

    #69 2 years ago
  70. Hitchens

    Sigh, at the person in the article, I’ve had this discussion, written college papers on it, and hope some day that gaming will be a popular choice for educating children.

    Your boys are four years old, and they’re playing Minecraft? I don’t know they’re skill level, but if “your going on adventures, building houses” they’re a hell of a lot smarter than many adults and young adults who I’ve seen fumble all over the controls of a game as simple as Minecraft.

    Stopping them, or putting a halt on their gaming is not the right path, but carefully choosing what games they pour their interest into is. And at their young age, you have control over that. You want them to read? You “should’ve” bought them an Snes, or downloaded an emulator.

    Forcing someone with burgeoning imagination and an energetic thought process to look at words on a page will lead to other negatives for many children, not all. But, having them take part in a touching story, with memorable characters which make them care whats going on, enjoying that with them will intrigue their interest into reading about, finding other stories(books), then with today’s games, there are usually books that explain that in more detail.

    Most old Japanese Rpgs have helped put many heads in books, or many older games that required reading.

    Not to mention, they reactions…

    Actually not gonna go on… but I do think if more children played Rpgs at younger ages, the world would be a different place.

    #70 1 year ago
  71. mmmm4525

    Hi, I’m an 11 year old kid and I’m homeschooled. I don’t really get what all the fuss is about, because I spend a lot of my free time playing video games but I also have my homeschooling group over to play games, go outside at the park, go on a trampoline etc. And I socialise quite a bit with my friends, like Sunday we had a party(but I think the whole point of those is an excuse for the parents to get drunk :D)!

    #71 1 year ago
  72. Mjshenay

    @70
    Wow, made an account just to… agree with you.

    I grew up on SNES rpgs… a lot of them and about half of them in Japanese lol, still it was mega fun reading the text and finding out what happend next! Even now, silly games like Pokemon have pretty solid vocabulary and tons of reading, not to mention the hordes of Strategical rpgs I played when I was younger to. There are a lot of games that make you think, and hopefully our culture will embrace those older games as you mentioned!

    Still nice point!

    Still, I lived on 12 acres of land growing up… so we played our favorite rpg then went outside to pretend to slay dragons, or get lost in our GIANT woods xD. So for me It worked out well! The video games got us outside, swinging sticks as swords [and getting on the neighbors nerves]

    #72 1 year ago