A family Minecraft policy

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Minecraft has become a global phenomenon because kids love playing it, and parents and educators praise the way it fuels creativity and learning. But we’ve held off on introducing it to our household because we’re concerned about the compulsive behaviour and conflict it seems to prompt in many families.

After a lot of conversation and consideration, we’re finally ready to let our kids use Minecraft. But first, we asked them them five questions about how we’d keep Minecraft obsession in check…and then developed a family policy based on their input, our experience with other games and what we read about Minecraft online. Here’s the policy that both our kids had to sign onto before getting Minecraft accounts.

Our Family Minecraft Policy

Principles

  1. Getting Minecraft is an EXPERIMENT.
  2. Playing Minecraft is a PRIVILEGE, not a right.
  3. For safety reasons, Mum and Dad need to know what you are doing on Minecraft and we will set limits on when and how you play.
  4. We encourage you to use Minecraft to CREATE, BUILD, LEARN and CODE.
  5. We will regularly discuss and evaluate the impact of Minecraft on our families and on your individual learning and development. We want to hear your thoughts on how Minecraft is rewarding for you, and we want you to listen to any concerns we have, and come up with solutions that address them.

Rules

  1. Minecraft can be played only during game time. As a reminder, that means:
    • 30 minutes per day on weekdays (Monday through Friday), between 4-6:30 pm
    • 1 hour per day on weekends (Saturday and Sunday), between 10-6:30 pm
    • holidays and pro-d days still count as weekdays
  2. Each child will have their own username, which they can help choose. Each child will have a password for Minecraft chosen by mum & dad. We will enter your password for you and you will not have your password; that way, we can manage your usage.
  3. You can only play in Creative mode or Survival mode. If Survival mode creates problems during game times, we will only let you play Creative mode.
  4. You can only play on servers we approve and sign you into.
  5. No stealing from friends or family members’ chests.
  6. No killing friends or siblings in Minecraft (or anywhere else).
  7. No trapping unless you are in a designated trapping world. If you want to play in a designated trapping world, you must first make a plan for handling any upset if you accidentally get trapped and killed.
  8. No downloading mods, maps, texture packs or anything else. If you want to download something you will need to ask us for help downloading to your computer so we can be sure the files are safe to download.
  9. You can EARN mods, maps, texture packs and other add-ons by showing us what you have created, learned, built or coded yourself. The more we see you creating, the more we will be willing to expand Minecraft for you. This applies to free downloads as well as paid mods/maps/expansions.
  10. If we ask to see what you are doing in Minecraft at any time, you will show us your screen IMMEDIATELY.
  11. It is your responsibility to save your game, progress or creations before game time ends. If you have not saved, you will lose your progress.
  12. It is your responsibility to ensure a smooth transition from Minecraft at the end of your activity without whining, yelling or requests for more time. Before you begin playing, you will need to make a plan for how you will transition from Minecraft to your next activity when game time ends, and tell us your plan before you start playing. That plan might include:
    • Taking three deep breaths
    • Going for a walk around the block
    • Getting out your favorite book, and having it waiting for you
    • Asking us to set up a board game we can play when you are done with Minecraft
  13. Violations of this policy will result in loss of Minecraft privileges for up to ONE WEEK. Violations include (but are not limited to):
    • Asking for additional time
    • Asking to play before game time
    • Tantrums when Minecraft time is up
    • Changing your password or sneaking into Minecraft
    • Downloading files
    • Playing on servers we have not approved
    • Hiding your screen or delaying before showing us your screen when we ask to see it
  14. If we have continued issues with Minecraft, we will remove it from all our machines and there will be no Minecraft in our home for at least 3 months. That policy will apply to BOTH kids even if only one of you has trouble managing Minecraft.

* These rules were adapted from Caryn Talty’s Minecraft rules on Health-Family.org. Rule #6 is taken verbatim.

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  1. Minecraft Resource Roundup for Parents - Raising Digital Natives - […] Samuel’s “Family Minecraft Policy” will be helpful for many families trying to find the balance of how Minecraft fits…

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