I admit that I have very little exposure to the game, but my niece and nephew are addicted. It's a fight to get them to stop playing and while they play they talk about killing zombies and dying and shooting. My 4 year old watched my nephew play for an hour one day and it took nearly 2 weeks to get him to stop talking about shooting things and dying. It's not something I would intentionally introduce to a 6 year old. That is my only exposure to this game though, so maybe someone else has a more positive view.
Life is strange and wonderful. Me , DP , DS (3/09) , 3 and 4
Shooting, dying, and zombies aren't what I want my six year thinking about!
You can actually turn off the monsters on the computer (it's a part of the initial set up of each world, but you can also go back and change it later), not sure about on the ipad.
Also, not sure if guns have been added to the game, but in the past shooting was done with a bow and arrows (if that makes a difference).
cancer-beating wife to DH since 7/4/09, mother to DS 5/1/11 + DD 8/21/2013
My 12-year-old loves Minecraft. He and his 3 best friends are on their own server with their own land (hosted by one of the boys.) They mostly play in creative mode but I know they have a special land they play survivor mode in. Of course, they are 12, not 6.
Something to consider... the graphics are very, very basic. These zombies are simply green block people. They are nothing at all like what you'd expect from a Wii, x-box type game.... more classic atari. You may still feel that is inappropriate for your child at this age but google some images before you make that judgement for all time.
Like above poster said... you can play in creative mode only... no monsters, no shooting... just creating. I know for DS it's a hugely social thing.
My son just turned nine and has been very intensely into Minecraft for just over a year. He has learned a huge amount from it (computer skills, keyboarding, programming, animation etc) and had a great deal of fun. He's made friends through it-- actually just had a friend over this morning to play together (same LAN world, separate computers). You don't have to play online with other people unless you choose to, and while my son occasionally plays in survival mode, it is the creative stuff that has most held his interest. The possibilities for what you can make are really unlimited. I'd suggest playing it yourself to get a sense of the game and whether you think it is a something your son would like.
Writing, reading, unschooling.
My 6yo and 8yo have been playing it a year or more. It is quite creative. My kids have built their own cities, roller coasters... have added mods and skins. Something important - everything is square. So nothing looks violent. Even if you kill a chicken or a pig (which you need to do sometimes to eat, otherwise you starve), then it is just a slice of a square. No blood squirting everywhere and bullets flying, arms being chopped off... I think other games in their least gory are still far more gory and violent than Minecraft at it's worst. My son plays mostly in creative mode, to build stuff and to investigate other peoples worlds.
OTOH, I think it is an addictive game. My DD can leave it. But my DS would play it 24-7, not even thinking about food or sleep, if he could. So for me it is not the game that is a problem, but my DS's hyper focusing on it, which is solved by time limits.
Hi - My five year old and nine year old love minecraft and have been playing it for at least a year now. They build the most amazing things with it. My only recommendation is that you limit the period of time you allow him to play the game - it can be very addictive.
I can sort of understand why these games carry appeal to a 12 yr old, a huge component is the social access it gives a young tween/teen where peer acceptance is at such a peak.
However, I am genuinely puzzled about the benefits of this game for the 4/5 to 8/10 yr set. Kids can do some amazing building projects in real life where the brain engages with touch, texture and other vital senses involved in the process. Have any long term studies been conducted, especially on young boys, with one group getting real time activity and another doing similar work online? Do these games have the capability of rewiring the brain differently (in a negative way) when started at very young ages? The insular nature of technology in another area of concern.
This came up not because of minecraft (no way am I letting my six year play it now) but because of online chess games. My son got really addicted, thinking too much about it even when not playing. But, he does not show any such reactions when he plays chess in realtime with an actual chessboard and another friend/player.
I've found these two links. One is a review, the other is a forum thread where parents talk about it: http://safevideogames.blogspot.com/2011/01/minecraft-review.html http://www.freerepublic.com/focus/f-chat/2869380/posts
I think one thing to consider is this- "You also have the opportunity to play online with other players which can include some nasty language, depending on which server you connect to."
Even if you're comfortable with your child playing it in creative mode on a specific area where you know they won't be exposed to anything bad, it's possible for your child to figure out how to change the settings or to change them by accident. You could play a game for months without realizing a setting or area is there, and someone else can sit down and find it in 5 minutes. I know someone who's 8 year old accidentally accessed another person's game on Little Big Planet- fortunately she was watching him so she could see if anything inappropriate was going on. That is one thing, if you're willing to constantly watch your children while they play, you can know if they start doing things you're uncomfortable with. If you aren't able to, you have to find a way to make sure the game stays age-appropriate and safe or should only use it once you trust your children to follow the rules you set.
I think this is one of those "it depends on the child" issues. I have an intensely cerebral 10-year-old who, rather than being drawn to lego and forts, is naturally drawn to abstract 3D representations of them. She loves 3D mapping, design, architecture and so on. She's been playing Minecraft on and off (and sometimes *really* on) for the past three years or so after being drawn in by her older brother who followed Markus Persson's development of the game from the earliest of alpha-testing stages. She does have other interests that keep her busy with physical, social and creative experiences: cooking, dance, photography, gymnastics, violin, reading, nature craft and outdoor survival skills, skiing, etc., so it's not that she's missing out on being a kid or on learning from real life. It's just that she has this brain that is wired for virtual 3D environments, enjoys what she can do in Minecraft, and gets a lot out of it both socially and creatively. Having had teenaged siblings for most of her living memory, she's grown up in an environment that has made her very mature and savvy about internet safety and security. I have no difficulty seeing the benefits and appeal of the game for her. Even at ages 7 and 8 it has been a good fit.
Mountain mama to two great kids and two great grown-ups
Not sure I follow you here, Seawind- what do you mean by the "insular nature of technology"? These two statements seem contradictory.
My son started playing Minecraft at seven. He's nine now. It's had huge benefits for him, in terms of learning (typing, spelling, coding, problem-solving, creativity, mad computer skills), friendships (cooperative play, dealing with conflict, negotiating shared projects, skyping together, running his own server, hosting Minecraft parties, building games within Minecraft to play with friends) and many many hours of great enjoyment and happiness.
He used to do a lot of building and got quite into electronics and robotics for awhile-- but soldering is frustrating with the fine motor skills of eight year old hands, as is the wiring involved in working with arduinos etc. The things he can do with redstone in Minecraft are far more complex than his fine motor skills (and our budget) would allow him to do with electronics and robotics. You can try something, see if it works, tinker with your design- all so much more easily than with wires and batteries etc. I play with him- not as his level, but enough to have a great appreciation for the game.
Writing, reading, unschooling.
My kids play Minecraft, and my way of monitoring their interactions online was to just join in and play alongside them. My husband set up a server for family & friends, so we have that and the kids like going on servers where there are different modes of the game set up. If you have 2 computers you can start a single player world and then open it to LAN (local area network) so the two of you can play in the same world. This only works for people in the same house.
~Teresa, raising DS (Jan. 02) and DD1 (Jun. 04) and DD2 (Dec. 11) with DH.
You can turn it on peaceful mode with no monsters spawning, my 4 year old prefers this because he panics when they attack him. Pocket edition is simpler and easier than computer, less to remember and do in order to craft things. It's a very addictive game, very creative and open ended though, it's much like legos on a screen.
Hi All- I posted query awhile ago. The update is that I now allow my DS7 to use Minecraft pocket edition in creative mode. He likes it, but seems to prefer some active math game apps. Pizza math, Math Ninjas, etc.
I'm finding that technology works for us when we keep it compartmentalized-- that is, we don't use it to stave off boredom or let it keep us from other pursuits (reading, the great outdoors, etc.). DS isn't allowed much technology during the week because we don't have time, and none at school. On the weekends, if he wants some tv or computer time, it's usually not an issue for me because he probably racks up an average of 2 hours of screen time per week (pretty minimal).