Yr 7 DS and Minecraft computer game after school

(56 Posts)

I'm getting a bit concerned that my DS seems to spend all his free time after (and before) school on Minecraft. He doesn't have THAT much free time to be fair but it's the fact that he's lost interest in all the other 'switch off' things he used to do, like reading, drawing detailed pictures of helicopters etc, playing outside with his younger brother and Lego.

Is this typical of a secondary school child?

I can't decide whether i should let him get on with it and relax in whatever way he chooses to or limit him to just a few times a week, so he doesn't stop reading etc. He is totally non communicative when he's playing, with ear phones in and can be pretty grumpy when told to stop. That bothers me as much as the time actually.

Niceweather Fri 05-Oct-12 06:19:14

All sounds very familiar! My son somehow hooks up with his mates on Skype and they all play together so it then becomes more of a social event. It's quite amusing to hear them all shouting at each other. He's definitely banned from going on it before school though.

happyoverhere Fri 05-Oct-12 07:22:08

MCC have you hacked my account, I could have written your post! I have been worried too so we have started "no mc until you have done your homework" and then setting a limit on it too. Evil mummy here!!

WofflingOn Fri 05-Oct-12 07:27:30

Minecraft is a very absorbing game, both mine play it extensively.
DS has a time limit, no more than a couple of hours a day. He is older than your DS and accepts the need for a balance.

SoupDragon Fri 05-Oct-12 07:59:46

Bloody Minecraft.... At the weekend I had DS2 (11) and two of his friends on Kinect in my playroom. I could hear "X! Why have you stolen all my torches! Give me my stuff back!" it was constant.

SLightly better than Halo where they kept dying (yes, I know it's a 15)

lljkk Fri 05-Oct-12 08:08:34

I am the strict one.
yr8 DS gets 5 hours/week of Minecraft all of it after school because his weekends are so busy & other DC only get their computer time on weekends (also limited, all this is term time only, different setup in holidays).
yr8DS is getting an iPad soon, though, he'll have close to unlimited access to Minecraft on that as long as it causes no problems. I expect him to start using 90% of our Bandwidth <<Shudder>>

I am planning to shut off WiFi access for DS iPad at 8:30pm every night, not back on until next day afternoon (still figuring out how to do that without shutting down WiFi for everyone).

When "playing" Minecraft DS spends part time running server, part time playing, part-time researching Minecraft news & tricks, part-time chatting with friends on the server, part-time skyping with friends about how funny it all is, it's not just "playing" Minecraft. It's got at least 4 channels to it. And all this is before he gets a FB account.

AmberLeaf Fri 05-Oct-12 08:15:43

My 13 yr old [yr 8] likes playing minecraft, Once homework is done I dont mind.

like reading, drawing detailed pictures of helicopters etc, playing outside with his younger brother and Lego

With the exception of reading I think its fine and indicative of his growing up to stop doing those other things.

Niceweather Fri 05-Oct-12 08:19:18

Common link here.... all Yr7 and Yr8 boys!

SoupDragon Fri 05-Oct-12 08:19:56

DS1 as well - just gone into Y9 grin

Bunbaker Fri 05-Oct-12 08:21:18

DD (12) likes Minecraft as well. We don't have an X Box so she has the PC version which keeps crashing. She hasn't played it for ages though.

ineedamiracle Fri 05-Oct-12 08:26:15

A couple of nights ago, yr8 DS shouting very loudly into his headset - "Sean!! You need to get some sheeeeeeeep!"

It would be quite entertaining if Minecraft hadn't stolen both of my children sad

tiggytape Fri 05-Oct-12 08:54:02

My DS (Year 7) loves it.
It has been the major bonding topic of conversation for new Year 7's at his new school. They're too shy to speak to each other until they realise one of them knows the secret of milking cows or where to mine for diamonds and all of a a sudden they're best of friends and chatting away. In that respect, it has been pretty good.

We don't have it on before school but I too suffer evenings full of angst about torches and lava pits and pigs falling down holes!

reshetima Fri 05-Oct-12 10:13:22

Similar experience here with DS (year 9). I do agree with it being quite sociable - he has set up a private server and is playing with three friends with Skype for verbal contact.

We too have imposed rules about no gaming after school during the week (Friday's ok if not too much homework) and only after lunch on weekends with an hour on/hour off rule so he has a break. We try and stick to a no computing after 8pm on weekends, but the nagging abilities of DS are second to none!

It is an immersive game, so the grumpiness and lack of communication are an issue with us too, but DS is pretty good at reverting to his normal reasonable self once he joins reality again.

Ds1 (y8) is not allowed to play videogames before school, and he has to do his homework after school before he can turn the Xbox on. His dad lives 2.5 hours away and they chat to each other over Xbox live (his dad works odd hours at home, so he's usually available in the afternoon for video gaming), so DS is even more keen to get on there. If his dad isn't available, he talks to his friends so it's still quite social.

He's less interested in stuff like building Lego than he used to be, but he still reads loads so I'm not worried. He always reads before bed, as I think that's much more conducive to sleeping well than videogames. He still likes playing outside on the trampoline or his bike, and gets plenty of outdoor activities through scouts. He's also developed new interests through clubs at school. He's been going to drama club and chess club. He isn't a particularly talented actor, but he enjoys it, and he's gotten very good at chess to the point where he can now beat his dad and grandparents.

Because of all this, I don't worry about the videogaming too much. He also, voluntarily, turns of his videogames when his 3 year old brother comes in from nursery and chooses to play with him instead. I think he secretly enjoys getting the chance to play with playmobil without looking babyish!

Yes I get it. He's growing up and this is all part of it. Sometimes it's hard to let them go though...I am delighted to have moved on from some younger boy stages, like the bed wetting and night terrors! But not all things are that easy to say goodbye to, I used to love wet Sunday's with me and DH reading the papers and him and his younger brother with big trays of Lego up at the table creating fabulous space machines!

It's new and I haven't got my head round rules - hence the early playing before I got up a couple of times last week. So just a matter of putting some boundaries in place - all very familiar parenting tasks!

You're absolutely right about what a great way to make friends it has been. DS2 has bonded with other MC kids at school and I mustn't forget it's benefits for boys who might otherwise get a bit lost in the massive new environment of secondary. Thanks for the support!

Kez100 Fri 05-Oct-12 16:43:28

I don't have rules as such except:

All homework takes priority. Clubs take priority. 15 mins music practice a day. Washing up needs to be done and meals eaten at the table. No playing before school. Everything electrical goes off by 9 and 10 at weekends. Minecraft and other such games seem to fit into every spare ounce of space between that lot!

TalkinPeace2 Fri 05-Oct-12 17:12:29

another one with a year 8 DS who would sit on Minecraft chatting to his friends ALL weekend (as the F1 is not live) if I gave him the chance

acebaby Fri 05-Oct-12 18:01:06

Oh gosh - my 7yo (year 3!) and all his friends are obsessed with this game. DH has set up the computer to restrict him to two one hour computer sessions a week (after he once played for three hours!). He is not allowed on the internet multiplayer game - so it is just him and DH.

So now he and his friends play minecraft, without the computer (involves strutting around in a slightly robotic way and teleporting to each others' 'houses'). This is marginally better than computerless angry birds, which involves running into each other at high speed.

Couchsweetpotato Fri 05-Oct-12 18:13:51

DS (10) is also obsessed with Minecraft and Skype. The whole thing is like an addiction. He spent our whole summer holiday jonesing for it! We are pretty strict on time spent on it, because it turns him into a surly and grumpy little shit.

noblegiraffe Sat 06-Oct-12 12:26:49

Please please make sure his time on it is limited and he gets to bed at a reasonable hour! I'm a teacher and the number of kids who come to school completely shattered because they've been up late playing computer games is shocking. They need time to wind down after playing them before they can go to sleep too.

TalkinPeace2 Sat 06-Oct-12 13:36:06

Our xbox is in the family room.
No electronics / TVs etc in bedrooms.
On school nights I try to make sure the phones are on charge in the kitchen too.

noble
there are LOTS of links to academic results v sleep patterns : you could set some of your classes a homework project to find them and get their parents to read them.

AmberLeaf Sat 06-Oct-12 14:04:49

Yes everything is downstairs here too, so no late night gaming.

Madmog Sat 06-Oct-12 14:53:30

I know Minecraft is popular with boys, but has it got worse since he started Y7? All my daughter wants to do as soon as she gets in is read a book/look at an encyclopeada which sounds great but homework wasn't getting done. She seems to have the message now that she needs to do about about an hour a night and a couple at weekends. They've had a lot of adjustment to cope with over the last month and I think it's my daughter's way of switching off. It might be worth inviting his friends around a bit more, even if they want to go on Minecraft at least they will be interacting with eachother.

TalkinPeace2 Sat 06-Oct-12 16:48:04

Madmog
Xbox live minecraft they play against / with each other - DS was building something with four friends (each at their own homes) the other night.
Wittering away as he does, but we did not have to listen as his friends were wittering too.

Waswondering Sat 06-Oct-12 16:51:34

Another mc obsessed ds (9) here ....

Mine too! Year 7.

He is still into Playstation (FIFA 13) and computer (Football Manager) and Fantasy Football.

He wants to set up a server but neither DH nor I understand that bit so we have put him off for the moment. DH worried about security I think.

DS is good at coming home and getting straight down to homework although I know he rushes it to get it over and done with. He plays MC on the laptop while watching TV with us.

Can anyone explain the server thing to me. Very simply please?

Coffeeformeplease Sat 06-Oct-12 17:31:49

Another MC addict here (Year 7)!
Seems to be the thing to do for year 6, 7, 8, even 9 from what I hear from friends.
My son is not allowed on the computer before school, and after school he does his homework before he can play. Not every day and only for a restricted time (1 hour usually).

Coffeeformeplease Sat 06-Oct-12 17:32:59

Cider, I don't understand the server bit either so son is not allowed to have his own until I have looked into it.

NoSoggyBottoms Sat 06-Oct-12 18:03:27

I love this thread grin...sounds like your talking about my Y7 DS too!

Like others have said, it's better than some other more bloody games (I mean bloody literally here!)

Also, his knowledge of rocks is improving...although he was surprised when shown sandstone in school as it didn't look the same as in Minecraft! lol

It's social as he can play with others or creates conversation points...very handy for DS who struggles in social situations

I secretly enjoy it too, although wasn't impressed that one of his friends built a big staircase near my house, grr!! lol

CouthyMowWearingOrange Sun 07-Oct-12 02:35:48

What is mine craft like? Would it be suitable for a 10.6 yo Y6 who loves computer games? What equipment would he need? It sounds like he would enjoy it.

Solo Sun 07-Oct-12 02:43:58

This is the 'norm' I'm afraid. My Ds is 14, absolutely loves MC and is on Skype with his friends and cousin too...I think it looks the most boring game ever hmm

Solo Sun 07-Oct-12 02:46:23

I could probably ask Ds to explain the server to you in the morning if you want?

Coffeeformeplease Sun 07-Oct-12 06:54:13

Yes please, Solo.

headinhands Sun 07-Oct-12 07:23:00

Haha. Another mum here who listens to bizarre and hilarious arguments emanating from the bedroom. 'You killed my dog!' 'It was an accident, I just fell down your mine, you should fence it off.''It took me ages to train him, I don't have any bones left!' and so on.

I can see the appeal. It is a very simple and hence playable game. I LOVE the zombie noises. They remind me of dh staggering off to the toilet in the middle of the night.

SoupDragon Sun 07-Oct-12 08:17:30

I asked DSs about the server thing and they looked at me blankly. Which is good because, having googled it, no way on earth are they setting one up.

It seems to involve allowing others access to your computer and, as we have no idea how to make this secure it won't be happening in this house. The tutorial warns you not to do it unless you know what you are doing - we ae clueless so no chance!

lljkk Sun 07-Oct-12 10:59:12

There are different levels of access with servers, the idea is that most players are just players & they can't do anything except within the game.

However, DS has learnt the hard way that letting others be an "Op" (?operator) is a recipe for trouble, they won't be responsible & they end up doing all sorts of things DS thinks of as rampant vandalism or cheating (DS is right fusspot about such things). He was in tears last night about it (poor guy). Hard lesson learned, I fear.

And this is after I strongly advised him not to OP anybody! I think he's gotten away with it, though, without too much harm done, and hopefully has learnt a solid lesson.

Solo Sun 07-Oct-12 12:58:56

Hi, it's Solo's Ds here Coffeeformeplease
These are some things you need to understand before creating a minecraft server.
Exerts from the MinecraftWiki:
"Warning
Before following these instructions please note that running server software on your computer without a clear understanding of what you are doing may seriously harm your system and lead to vulnerabilities. Do not open ports in your router without knowing exactly what you are doing."

"Warning
Since you're about to run your own server, you should be aware of the possible dangers. Although we can not prevent people from running their server and putting themselves at risk, we may at least appeal that you don't do it when having no idea what you actually do. Running by the instructions below should not put you at any risk, but since this is a wiki which everybody is allowed to edit, and we don't know about your system configuration, we cannot guarantee you'll be out of danger. In order to run your server and stay out of trouble, we strongly recommend you should at least know about the following:
Networking in general (IP, DHCP, ports etc.)
Your system configuration
Your network configuration
Your router configuration (if you want other people to connect over Internet)
How to use and configure your personal firewall (shutting it down is NOT an option!)"

In essence what you would need to do with regards to creating the server is download all of the necessary software, i shall link these downloads here:

minecraft.net/download

The sub-heading 'multiplayer server' is where you will be able to download the program for this.

I won't run into specifics at all the different booster software to download (even though it's free) I.E. Hamachi which helps to maintain the servers connection and keep it from being laggy (slow).

The main thing you should understand is that hosting a multiplayer is not without risk; if your Ds gives the IP to his friends and his friends give it to his friends, many people could join the server and destroy all the 'hard' work done by your Ds and his friends.

Unless you or your Ds do something that you don't quite understand you should be fine, but if you don't understand then i would leave it and not bother having the server.

However after downloading the 'multiplayer server' download from the link above, this turorial on youtube may be able to help.
www.youtube.com/watch?v=YWF2aCM2Mm4&feature=related

The only other thing is paid hosting from companies like 'fragnet.net' but i wouldn't because £10 a month is quite a lot for such a simple game.

I would suggest not even bothering as it's a lot of hassle, but if you wish to do so that youtube tutorial is quite informative.

any more questions just ask smile

Solo Sun 07-Oct-12 13:05:22

Soupdragon they will not be able to access your computer, but they will be able to go on the server, which will be hosted BY your computer and your internet connection, i am unaware that they can gain access to your computer, and unless your Ds has friends of global hacking stature i highly doubt they could access your computer, hosting a server is MINIMAL risk at worst.
My above post has a youtube link in it, click on that give it a watch, explains how to setup a server.

SoupDragon Sun 07-Oct-12 13:15:46

Oh, I don't doubt it can be safe and most likely is safe but as I don't know anything about it whatsoever, it won't be happening.

Solo Sun 07-Oct-12 13:18:29

Ds says "Fair point!" grin

lljkk Sun 07-Oct-12 13:21:24

DH sets up & runs servers for a living or probably I wouldn't have allowed it, either smile.

NormaStanleyFletcher Sun 07-Oct-12 13:25:22

I have said it before, and I say it again...

Minecraft is the crack cocaine of children's games.

We host a server, but limit his time so that he can only access the pc at certain times.

NoSoggyBottoms Sun 07-Oct-12 15:26:38

CouthyMowWearingOrange I would think that a 10yr old/Y6 child would love it - most do!

You can either download it for your PC or play via Xbox (you will need Xbox live gold and microsoft points to buy it)

You will not need any other equipment apart from either a laptop/PC or Xbox.

Minecraft is a virtual world where basically the character can dig up and build things in their world.

There are some "monsters" but if you play in 'peaceful' mode, these nasties won't appear! Btw, the monsters aren't scary, but can kill you!

You can play by yourself or with others. My DS (11) is only allowed to play with his real friends, rather than playing with strangers.

The graphics are very basic when compared to todays computer games. There is only music and sound effects, so no swearing (apart from DS's friends!...that's via a microphone connection!). You can get 'killed' but it isn't bloody or gory.

Hope this helps smile

NoSoggyBottoms Sun 07-Oct-12 15:29:18

Thought I was going to have to contact a counselling service for DS when he lost his diamond pick axe after falling in lava hmm!!

SoupDragon Sun 07-Oct-12 15:48:03

Solo, after googling I came across the warning your DH quotes below and thought I don't even have a vague understanding let alone a clear one. grin My understanding is just clear enough to know we shouldn't be getting involved in it! grin

I have just had a group of 13 year old boys "in" my playroom playing Minecraft. These seem to have been replaced by a group of 11 year olds. [sigh]
"X! Why did you have to do that! I was just mining! I was just mining, man... You are SO mean! All I was doing was some mining and you hit me with some bacon!"

FFS.

Coffeeformeplease Sun 07-Oct-12 17:41:57

OK, I think we will not allow it then, sounds to complicated, and works fine without the server thing.
Thanks.

ChampagneCharlotte Mon 08-Oct-12 11:08:37

DS (12, year 8) also mad about Minecraft, new rule that there's no computers Mon-Thurs, then a few hours at weekend...but he really wants XBox live, any thoughts? Is is safe?

headinhands Mon 08-Oct-12 15:49:11

Any adults going to admit to liking Minecraft themselves? I played with dh last night. Funny how he ended up doing the mining while I caught and cooked ducks and sheep and made the beds.

I love the idea of playing myself! It does sound fun - DS has lost his interest in becoming vegetarian as a pig killed his dog, so he's out to get all pigs!! Was funny that we realised this while serving up pork loin on Sunday- I expected a grumpy DS1 because he is really going off meat, but he was delighted to be eating pig!!

The sleep thing is a really good point. After DS1 started getting tired we have reeled bedtime back to 830 in bed reading, 9 lights out. And no MC from 730 onwards, just TV or other switch off things. Only scouts night and Fridays where we will relax those rules and DS1s mood has improved considerably. Amazing what decent sleep can do. Also we have said MC needs to be treated as a treat not taken for granted, meaning the laptops switched off after any winding up of little brother or snapping at me.

We have never considered the server stuff though DS1 loves showing his friends his MC world when they come over. The server is just a big step too far for us, seems too complex rather than too risky. I need the laptop for my grocery shop so don't think it would be safe to enter bank card details onto same computer that a server is being hosted on.

The MC game itself seems enough though, we also have the iPad MC and DS2 who is 7 loves it! But I am wiser now so his time is even more limited!

anewyear Tue 09-Oct-12 10:10:10

Another 2 MC addicts here too, DS1 14 & DS2 11.
DS2 spends time going bettween MC and Skylanders.

Dinglebert Tue 09-Oct-12 11:32:27

Isn't it just him coping with the huge move to secondary school? I guess it is absorbing in a way that drawing wouldn't be - thus letting him relax rather than letting his mind wander and worry about school.

My DS is a bit addicted too. It looks like quite a good game to me - he makes the most amazing structures (assuming I am thinking about the same game blush may not be - no pigs and dogs in ours!) and has the think laterally and three dimensionally. I would rather him doing this than some other mindless pastime.

Asinine Tue 09-Oct-12 11:44:53

Ours (14,12,10 and 7) can play mc or other screen stuff from 4-5 Monday-Thursday, if they're not at an after school thing, after 5 is homework, music or playing out. Friday is screen free for everyone. Weekends are busy with music activities or family stuff, but if it's very wet they can binge. No one on fb, they don't seem to be interested.

It's a fine game, it's just a case of keeping them off it enough, so they can remember what else they're interested in.

GooseyLoosey Tue 09-Oct-12 11:50:49

CouthyMow, ds is in Yr 5 and loves it. He would spend hours on it if allowed to do so. I cannot see the point in it. It seems to mostly involve either stacking blocks on top of each other or hacking blocks down. You have to get fairly in to it to really get much out of it. I have seen ds watch endless tutorials to work out how to do things on it.

headinhands Tue 09-Oct-12 14:31:44

We have the MC pocket edition on both iPads and iPhones and the whole family played in the same world last night. My life. You need the negotiating skills of an international diplomat!

It was hilarious though. Dd built an assembly room where we had to meet every now and then to collect specialist equipment she had made for us. Only ds kept running off every now and then whenever he'd catch sight of an animal/monster in the distance. So funny seeing him galavanting off into the mists to do his own thing. Much like what he does on every outing.

MadameCreeper Tue 09-Oct-12 17:14:57

Does your DS return with steak and wood headinhands?

headinhands Tue 09-Oct-12 18:51:22

On a family outing? No.sad

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