Mummy bloggers all over are writing about how they can’t get their kids off Minecraft. They are talking about having to learn a new language to begin to understand their children’s
addiction enthusiasm preference for playing the game using media constantly.
What is less understood is that parents are trying to raise children in a world where media is everywhere and everything is media. This is new and aside from the clinical psychologists who led the anti video, dvd and now game lobby – while at the same time making a fortune ‘treating’ kids for it – there really is scant evidence to suggest playing games today has academic benefits, nor does it lessen, harm or otherwise turn kids into dumb adults. What most of the research focuses on (in games) is the emotional responses people have – most often in lab-experiments rather than any real large scale cross-disciplinary research. So mummy blogger is right – no matter what belief she has about Minecraft right now. And plenty of us have observed family conflict over the use of media in the home these days.
Parents have experience of media, access information about media, but no real objective way of learning how to parent children in a world now saturated by it. Minecraft exists along side a raft of media that children consume. Some media, typically that which is made by children versed in the genre of children’s entertainment is very good. Take Good Game by the ABC. The Good Game Spawn Point for ‘younger gamers’ is impressive. In store, evidence suggest most parents take advice when buying games and don’t buy games with inappropriate ratings. However this is no measure of a child’s diet or exposure to media as they move around the metaverse. Vast amounts of media which targets kids is designed to do one thing – make money from advertising. Minecraft, without it’s constellation of media channels (un-regulated and un-known) is not about to craft content in the way GGSP does – nor is it motivated to do so. At the top of the food chain, the channel parents are using to find answers – aka Google – makes billions out of the problem itself. Broadcast yourself (and make money with no recourse) is what is happening. The fact it’s Minecraft is not as significant as people believe. Now it’s Minecraft, later it will be something else.