What is Minecraft
Minecraft is a virtual 3D Lego-like building game, where the player is free to make anything they want. It is a great way to encourage creativity and helps to build on team skills and working together to reach personal goals. After the initial purchase of the game, there aren’t any other forms of extra purchases.
How Minecraft works
In Minecraft, when you start a new game there are 3 main modes: Creative, Adventure and Survival.
Players can do anything, monsters can’t attack them and it’s impossible for your character to die. This is the safest mode and is great for younger players to get used to the game before they move on to the other levels.
Players can’t break any blocks, but can kill monsters and animals, or be killed by monsters.
Players must survive against monsters and hunger. But the monsters can be turned off by pressing escape, going into settings and turning the difficulty to ‘peaceful’.
Singleplayer vs Multiplayer
Minecraft has 2 main player options:
No one can join the player’s game and no one can contact you through the Minecraft chat.
Players can join any game they want, public or private. Players can also see, speak and interact with others, whether they are friends or strangers. Children can play together with friends in the same location or room if they are all sharing the same internet connection (LAN).
There are so far 3 versions of Minecraft for different platforms (gaming devices):
- The PC version is by far the most used and provides a large variety of user-made servers (A place where many people from different places can play together) to play on, meaning that the likelihood of you meeting a complete stranger online is almost certain. However, if you do not wish for your child to be playing on a public server with strangers, they may create their own server and only the people they invite will be allowed on it. (Experts and advanced users only)
- The mobile version of Minecraft is available for iOS Apple and Android devices, and has a smaller community, but still allows players to play and communicate with one another. There is a huge reduction in the risk associated with this version of the game, but there are fewer features than the PC version.
- The console version of Minecraft is available for Xbox and PlayStation, and is pretty popular, but still has a high risk of meeting a complete stranger. However, making a private server where only your child’s friends can play on it is very easy.
Beware of Viruses and Malware
Always make sure that you are downloading Minecraft from the official website. Otherwise, it is very likely that you will download some sort of virus. Do NOT download the game from any website that is claiming to be giving it away for free or is a ‘torrent’.
Additional content can also be downloaded for Minecraft through ‘mods’, which are small or large changes to the game that are unofficial. There is a small risk that if you download one of these ‘mods’, you will download viruses or malware on your computer. Always make sure that you are pressing the correct download button when downloading a ‘mod’ off the website, as many of those kinds of websites have multiple download buttons for different software in order to be misleading and to try and plant a virus on your computer. ‘Mods’ are a bit risky, because the only way to tell if a ‘mod’ is really okay is if the ‘mod’ is very popular or if the website looks official and secure.
There are many servers in Minecraft that have been set up exclusively for families and children to play on safely. The servers have strict rules on language and behavior, which is guaranteed by the moderators. They are also whitelisted, meaning it is impossible to connect unless your name has been added to the list, preventing random strangers from joining the server. Some of these websites include:
Kids Safe YouTube Minecraft Channels:
Always check before subscribing.
http://www.cleanminecraftvideos.com where only child friendly Minecraft videos are shown.
Playing on Minecraft Realms, chatting in Scrolls, making purchases, or changing settings on the Mojang account site, is not possible now unless you have parental consent which includes verification via a credit card.
Minecraft Realms is a paid subscription service where you can host a server for friends simply without having to set up I.P addresses, ports and LAN networks.
- Turn off chat features in settings
- Everyone you’ll meet online in Minecraft will have their own gamertag too, you can add new friends, or mute, report or block someone, right from the pause menu in-game. Here’s a run-down of the options:
Add Friend: If you add someone to be your friend on Xbox Live, they will be able to join you when you’re playing on your own Minecraft worlds, and they’ll show up in your easy-access invite lists for Realms and online multiplayer.
Mute: When you mute someone, you won’t see any of their messages in game chat or in servers.
Block: Blocking someone means that they can’t contact you at all in Minecraft or through the Xbox Live network. You won’t see their messages in chat, they can’t join your Realm (even with an invite), you won’t see any Xbox Live messages or game invites from them.
Report: Reporting someone sends a message to Minecraft and Xbox Live Enforcement with information about the issue.
By creating an Xbox Live account and gamertag, when logged in you can set your own privacy and multiplayer preferences, create and manage accounts for your family members, and stake your claim on your name in the Minecraft universe. Plus, because everyone will have an account, if you do run into any creepers ruining the fun, it’s easy to report them.
- Of course if you are playing on a local area network (LAN) connection, you won’t need to sign in to play with friends on the same network.
SET PLAYER PERMISSIONS FROM THE PAUSE MENU
Want to invite friends to look but not touch in one of your shared worlds? Or help you fight off a horde of zombies without attacking each other? Now you can with new player permissions which you can manage right from the game. You can set custom permissions for each player in your world or Realm, or use pre-set permissions levels.
The servers above have volunteer moderators who look out for bad behaviour such as bullying, cheating and they will report issues. They also have specific word filter list to make sure it is suitable for all ages. The server has also band messaging and the /tell command to allow greater moderation across all parts of the server.
PRIVACY SETTINGS, PARENTAL CONTROLS AND CHILD ACCOUNTS
Xbox Live accounts give you access to settings which let you, and your children play the way you want online, just go to account.xbox.com/settings
“JOIN MULTIPLAYER GAMES” SETTINGS
If you have your settings set to block joining multiplayer games, you can’t join any multiplayer games in Minecraft, including shared local worlds, Realms or servers. To enable multiplayer in Minecraft, make sure this setting is set to ‘Allow.’
“OTHERS CAN COMMUNICATE WITH VOICE, TEXT, OR INVITES” SETTINGS
If you have your settings set to block communication from others, you will still be able to join and play in multiplayer experiences across Minecraft, but you won’t be able to see chat messages from other players or receive invites to join other players’ games.
CHILD ACCOUNTS FOR UNDER 13S
If you are under 13 years old, you will need your parents permission to create an Xbox Live account. Parents can add a child account at https://account.microsoft.com/family/addmember.
By default, all child accounts have their multiplayer and communication settings blocked. This means that until a parent logs in and changes the setting to enable multiplayer, child accounts can’t play on other player’s worlds, or on Realms or servers, or chat with other players online.
To learn more about Xbox Live settings, you can visit https://privacy.microsoft.com/en-us/xbox-one-privacy-and-online-safety
YOU CAN TURN ON AND OFF MULTIPLAYER FOR LOCAL WORLDS THROUGH THE SETTINGS MENU OF YOUR GAME
If you have Xbox Live multiplayer permission enabled, your local worlds have multiplayer settings turned on by default. This means that it’s easy for players that you have already added as friends in Xbox Live to join your world and play too. If you want to prevent anyone from joining your local worlds, you can turn off multiplayer from the settings menu.