Sooner or later, your Minecraft kid will discover Minecraft forums and go looking for a server. It is amazing how many great servers there are online now. In just a few years, the number of family-appealing servers has grown exponentially. And the best ones are run by kids.
Right now, my kids are playing on Co-Co, run by Panda. It has a vibrant economy and I’ve been amazed at how quickly my kids have come to understand the basics or a market economy and entrepreneurship. For example, the arrival of horses in the game has created a demand for horses obviously – so breeding them for sale is one way to earn money and get experience/rank. But to breed horses you need to feed horses, so my kids have developed quite a sophisticated ranch, trail rides and supplies business.
Power up your kids imaginative learning system
They are past the point where they need to put their hand up for help, and they certainly enjoy the freedom to earn and learn, as they are driving the thing that I see as most valuable in raising kids – imagination. They play before school for about half an hour – once they are ready to roll, and after school before dinner. I’ll write next time about how this works, as I have a system that I think most parents struggling with Minecraft time management would like … but in the mean time … consider asking your kids which servers they are using, and ask them what they like about them, or don’t.
Make a list and keep asking so that you can get some sense of what is important to them. For example, Miss10 says that a server admin with a sense of humour is essential, and Mr12 says an admin who doesn’t treat him like a child. Mr7 just likes a server where he doesn’t have to beg for land or resources.
Teach them to foreground and background media channels and people
The interesting thing is, they never talk about language and trolls – because over time, we’ve talked about this and have backgrounded these things. This is an important area of research ‘how do kids learn to foreground and background media in a 24/7 cycle?”
All kids in contemporary-western-digital-societies should know how and when to foreground and background media channels and the behaviours of people on them. As schools seem to not be at a point this might make sense (they focus on cybersafety and digital-citizenship tropes) — I think playing Minecraft teaches kids how to background and foreground media in way that schools don’t right now. They are too busy banning or allowing which is a useless way to think about media forms and use.
So, go try out some server with your imaginative adventurers … it’s fun.