I keep making the decision, over and over again that my 7 year old will not play the highly addictive video game, minecraft. Just startpage “minecraft addiction” to see why for yourself. We have one family in our lives who are video game free and I really appreciate that. Without them, we’d have no one to pattern after, and I’d be out here on this limb of consciousness all alone. Every single one of my son’s other friends talks about minecraft ceaselessly. I’ve asked the moms, “If you could go back and say no to minecraft, would you?” They have all told me that they would have. Once your kid has the jones for it, there’s really no taking it away. The only adversity coming my way on this particular decision is from my son.
My son gets to play some video games now and then, stuff that’s pretty benign like RC mini racers or Jewels. He gets an hour of screen time a day and if he wants to play video games, so be it. As a “natural” mama, some of you may wonder why I allow video games at all, or sugar, or tv – well, it all comes down to the forbidden fruit factor. My children are being raised in the USA after all. I believe that allowing them to experience some of the apple pie that makes America America is probably a good idea. I don’t believe in creating the forbidden fruit or in depriving my children. Far from it. This addictive video game thing, however, is certainly a battle I choose to pick. When I told one of my mom friends that he was asking every day to play minecraft, she replied, “If you let him play, he’ll be asking even more.”
World of Warcraft, Skylander, crack, meth…
I understand there is a game for adults called “World of Warcraft” aka “WOW” where you get to be anyone you want, as powerful, beautiful, special, rich, you name it. Adults would so rather be their character, that they lose their jobs, their families, their marriages. Apparently 40% of people who play the game become addicted. The WOW product geared toward hooking youngsters is called Skylander. I just don’t see the point in handing your children an addiction on a platter. Once again, search “WOW addiction” and you’ll see countless stories from deeply miserable human beings. It just so happens that if you search “Skylander addiction” that someone already patented that and is making it cool. The problem is that many parents don’t know the dark underbelly of these “games” until it’s too late. Since new games are being unveiled constantly, I will simply research the addiction factor of the game before I allow it in my child’s repertoire.
I’ve heard that the three things that will ruin your life (because they ultimately undermine your ability to be happy) are credit card debt, drugs, and porn. I’d add video games to that. There’s way too much out there in the way of amazing life to spend it glued to a screen in a virtual world. I’m not judging those who choose to spend their lives doing this. Whatever floats your boat. I’d just rather my children take off on a real boat – that’s paid for. And if they are going to spend thousands of hours doing a particular thing, it’d be nice if they had something like a talent or a skill to show for it.
So, to minecraft, as worn down as I’m getting, I say no. Yet again. And then it passes. It will resurface in another week or two, but no minecraft for us. We will not conform – as long as there are gardens and zoos and real games like capture the flag and cards and chess and beaches and fishing and painting and reading and friends and sports and you get the idea.
And – some afterthoughts:
- The only parents I’ve come across who defend these addictive games as harmless are addicted to the games themselves.
- It’s okay for my child to be the only one on his sports team who can’t talk minecraft. Lead by example for one. And for two, the other parents might appreciate, as I do, the child who changes the subject. The road less traveled usually rocks.
- I also realize this post might be a yawner for most considering minecraft is nothing new. However, these are my two cents for when the next big “must-play” game comes out.