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Is Minecraft just at the weekends too high risk? (only 5 year old!)


AimlessUK
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I have a student who's 5 years old. He's just started showing an absolute obsession for Minecraft. I know his mother well and she hasn't let him play much; only a few hours at the weekend. Never during the week.

She debated letting him play it at all.

I haven't played this game much, but like his mum, I'm tempted to let him play it, even though he looks like very high risk to get addicted.

This is because on the one hand, this is making him a lot smarter. His 3D spatial skills are improving and this is starting to improve his pre-reading skills with less letter rotations etc. When we talked about the game, he came across as at least a year more developed cognitively. I've never seen him like this before.

But on the other hand, in the last lesson he mentioned the game maybe 30x in an hour, and frankly, he seemed already obsessed to the point of broken. Looking at this game, there's a lot of LUDIC LOOPS and he's surely fallen into a few of them already. Minecraft was recently voted the most addictive game of all, after all. I just found that he doesn't even meet the minimum age requirements to play the game.

I guess what I'm looking for is to give me a bit of a push to say bye-bye to the benefits of the game, because I don't think they're worth it, but I'm not entirely sure because the benefits are also quite extreme.

 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Minecraft is a particular phenomenon. People his age usually follow a lot of popular Minecraft streamers which make them feel like they are part of a big community. They also attend big events like Minecon where the average age is like 10 years old. Minecraft is basically the digital version of Lego so no wonder it's addicting for so many kids.

In the end it should be treated as any other activity where you have to set up boundries and explain the importance of moderation. Gaming is a real beast for sure and it shares many mechanics with gambling and can get out of hand fast. It sounds like it has already reached this point with this child and that's unfortunate. Stopping them from engaging with the game all together might spark a lot of anger and confusion. Maybe try to identify why they are so drawn to Minecraft in the first place? Are they trying to escape some hardships in real life? Are they especially drawn to the creative or social nature of the game? Trying to find substitutes for these factors might be a good way of phasing it out, in combination with moderating screen time of course.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Any game can become a problem if the child plays it too much. In any case, children's preferences change quickly, they will get tired of minecraft in a few months. Then he starts playing fortnite or another game, it doesn't matter. The main thing is that these games do not affect the quality of his education. Does he play in his free time when he has completed all the tasks? Great, no problem. The main thing is not to forget about discipline

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  • 3 weeks later...

Speaking of a personal experience if someone is playing only 1-2 hours on a weekend a videogame it's not a problem by itself, but as probably many others with similar experience can confirm the problem is that eventually especially if the game is really interesting it will start to occupy a person's thoughts even during the other days and activities, f.e you sit at work and instead of focusing on what you are doing you are planing some game strategies or craving for a moment when you will be able to play again,  which obviously affects productivity in a very negative way.
I would say a kid should get a push to craft things IRL, because this is what minecraft is all about crafting, cooking stuff etc.

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I think that If the parents are in no state to set a schedule for themselves and their kid that will fulfill all the 4 reasons why we play. It is a good solution for the kid to feel at least some competence. But of course ideally it should be limited by the parent, so as the kid doesn't develop the addiction. Maybe he should stop all together for a few months, and then the parents could discuss with him the importance of only having a set amount of hours before they continue. If they see that it's too hard for him maybe shouldn't play at all. (Especially due to his sensitive age. He can't set boundaries to himself)
I'm just brainstorming here, I have no Idea about the "rightest" thing here, just as you don't probably.

But if I were you I'd consult the books. 
What do we know? It's the blind leading the blind.
Ask some specialists who devote their life to those questions, you'd most probably get a better answer from them.

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