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Help us please with this decision about DS and computer stuff esp Minecraft

(8 Posts)
Clumsymum Fri 16-Sep-11 10:14:07

I haven't been on Mumsnet for ages, but DH and I can't reach a satisfactory conclusion on this, so I'm asking what some of you do/think.

DS, just 12, just started at new secondary school, is pretty obsessed with his PC, and currently with playing Minecraft. He saved up some pocket money at the beginning of the year, and paid £13.50 for his joining fee (or whatever it's called). But he is OBSESSED by it, given free choice he would get up at 7 in a morning and play it until bedtime. If he goes on it, getting him off to do anything else (his chores, get dressed, go out to something we had arranged, go to bed etc etc) is very hard, and always leads to a row. It spoilt a couple of days over the summer holidays because he wouldn't come off to do things we had planned.
We impose sanctions, ban the computer for two days if he doesn't come off when asked, things improve for a day or two, but then we go back to square one.

Soooo, we're generally a bit unhappy about his use of minecraft to start with.

However, when he was on it the other day, some of the dialog that was coming up from the other players was erm .. rather inappropriate .. and included much use of 4 letter words etc. basically stuff I don't want him seeing. Yep he'll be exposed to it from other kids outside, but we don't really want him sitting in front of that sort of thing in our living room - I wouldn't let him watch a film that included that content, I don't want him playing a game where that language and behaviour happens.

So I have stopped him playing Minecraft. Much wailing and moaning, I'm cutting him off from his friends, I don't want him to do anything he enjoys ... you know the scenario. As he says, it isn't his fault that other people swear, why do I want to spoil his fun?

Now I have offered to let him join Lego Universe (he wants to spend his birthday money on a subscription to this) - I'll even pay his first month subs to make up for losing his Minecraft money - tho he's definately had £13.50 worth of value out of it by now. I understand it's well moderated, which is probably why it costs more.

But he wants Lego Universe as well as his access to Minecraft. I just see the problem of getting him off his computer getting worse, and more rows.

So, my questions are :
1. Am I being too harsh in banning Mineraft altogether ?
2. How do we solve this problem about coming off the computer when asked? We have tried all sorts of strategies so far; Time limits, set time he must come off, telling him 15 minutes before he needs to shutdown, etc etc etc. none of it works.

Taila Fri 16-Sep-11 10:46:37

Your not going to like my response but here it goes. I think banning him from Minecraft was too harsh.

Minecraft is a sandbox game that allows the player to build and create anything they want out of the materials given in the game. It has inspired many to take up programming to enhance game play and to create some very impressive structures and mods for the game.

I personally play the game. Have a look on google, there are tons of pictures showing what people have been able to create using this game. Out of most games out there this is the best, educational wish and play quality wise.

I would say impose time limits for playing on the computer but I wouldnt ban him all together. Especially when he could easily take something as silly as playing minecraft and turn it into a very profitable career in the future.

I would suggest discussing with him the times that are best suited to play for him that are when his friends on, choose 2 or 3 hours of that time and tell him that is the time he has to play in the day. Once that time is up, the computer goes off. If he doesnt turn it off, then the computer gets taken away for a few days and he suffers not playing it at all. Hopefully this should get the message across, that if he wants to play he plays by your rules.

I would say the game is not the problem, but his attitude towards respecting you and your rules. Ive played Lego Universe as well, but honestly I found it rather bland and designed for much younger children (under 10). You can do a lot of building yes, but not in the way you can with minecraft. As I said Minecraft advances you educationally, Lego Universe not so much.

Taila Fri 16-Sep-11 10:51:00

I should also add. Many games are very easy to get lost in; admittedly Minecraft is one of those games as it drives you to create and explore more.

I got lost in the game last night myself, started my castle at about 8pm and didnt get off the computer and actually go to bed until midnight. And Im still not finished with it. lol

TheGoldRoad Fri 16-Sep-11 10:56:27

My DS (13) is also crazy about Minecraft, and asked me casually could he go to Vegas to the convention on October ! (no one in our family has ever even been abroad or got passports so this was a funny request)

I think as long as you limit some sort of time limit or enforced homework/bedtime rules then there should be (!!) no problem.

To my mind, I'd rather my DS be playing that than Call of Duty and such like what "everyone else in his class" is playing and getting obsessed over.

Clumsymum Fri 16-Sep-11 11:03:07

Oh he doesn't have Call of Duty or other such games yet. We do stick to age appropriate stuff here

TheGoldRoad Fri 16-Sep-11 11:06:06

Yes we do here too hmm but I had endless amounts of grief, tears and upset last year over Modern Warfare and him getting picked on and name called at school over it. So for that reason, I'm really pleased he plays Minecraft and would never outright ban him for good.

admylin Fri 16-Sep-11 13:33:00

Ds plays minecraft and he plays it alone so he gets the building part of it but no use of 4 letter words. I don't like to leave him unsupervised with online stuff where you don't know who he's talking to so I'd rather just built alone for now.

While he's building on minecraft he has his school friends on skype all at once so they can talk about what they are building. They are all 13.

SecretSquirrels Fri 16-Sep-11 15:33:20

DS2 is 13 and loves Minecraft.
I agree with everything Taila has said about it. It's a far better game to play than COD etc. However it's true it's not moderated. I don't know how or who your DS is talking to? DS only talks to his school friends via Skype and I've never heard any bad language. I think they can go on different host servers somehow.
I always joke that Minecraft is created by a 14 year old Norwegian boy in his bedroom

A good alternative with more moderation is Runescape (DS2 's alternative favourite). It requires some concentration and planning to progress and DS has certainly learned some useful stuff on it. There is only written communication allowed.
Agree lego is too babyish for a 12 year old.

When we have had over use of games in the case of both boys I have always set a strict daily limit. Usually Two hours on a school day (not consecutive) and three on a weekend.

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