Dad Asks For Advice On Son’s Minecraft ‘Addiction’, Gets Told To Help Him Build Stuff

Kid loves video game, spends lots and lots of time with it. Parent frets over kid, thinks offspring might've fallen prey to the bogeyman of video game addiction. It's a scenario that probably plays out in thousands of homes. Maybe even yours. One father went to Quora, where questions get asked and answered by site subscribers, to get some help.

The answers for the most part encourage the concerned dad to get some context and try and make some connections. One respondent tells about his own similar situation:

My 12yr old son has a set number of hours each day he is allowed 'free time'. As long as he does school, homework, shower, chores etc... his time is his to do as he pleases.

What pleases him most is Minecraft. I was thrilled when he started playing it because he quit playing Halo and Call of Duty in order to migrate over to the PC. "You mean you are building something and not shooting someone? Cool!"

The best answer comes, not surprisingly, from someone who plays a lot of games. Here's a snippet of Lemuel Pew's advice to Worried Dad:

Ask him what he is doing in the game. What are his goals? What is he trying to build? I'm sure your son would love to explain to you all the things he's doing in the game. Is he building a castle? Fighting off monsters? Did he just find a new cave and he's exploring it? Ask him. Learn about his hobby a little. You don't have to understand it all, but it opens a dialog and gives you a chance to communicate on his terms as well as yours.

Don't just unplug your kid, teach him how to unplug himself, and encourage him when he does.

These sharp, informed responses come as a breath of fresh air when compared to the histrionic panic attacks that so often surrounds conversations about video game addiction. Video games are no different than any other passion and the best thing to do is to see if there actually is a problem before sounding any alarms. What parents might actually find is that a child's passion for interactivity provides potential for a new kind of connection.

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Image from DeviantArt user theevollutions


Comments

    Hopefully this guy will follow up on these answers and not just disconnect his son from Minecraft. I find it interesting to see that he has set "free time" but not all non-free activities are listed. If the ones listed are his only other issues, then I can see how this would be an issue, but it sounds like it's only an hour or so per day, which is hardly an addiction, especially if other obligations are not effected. Sounds more like this guy needs to stop being so controlling if that's the case

      That was a response to the question itself for another user, not the person who was worried about his son having an addiction.

      The actual concern was "If I just let him play, he'll literally skip meals and keep playing. When we go somewhere, he brings his computer in the car to keep playing."

    Holy crap, people CAN say nice things on the internet

      Indeed they can. Somewhere in the deep, dark corners of the Internet where the light from YouTube does not shine.

    My mother use to be like that. I would spend all day on the internet and playing games into the early hours of the morning. She would say that she was worried about how much time I was spending on the computer and about my social skills going down the drain.

    Then one day she simply asked what I was doing and I explained it to her and showed her all the different games I was playing and the websites I was looking at. She might not have known what I was talking about but it seemed to reassure her that I was still there, even if I was at the computer. Even to this day she'll ask me if I'm into that new Call of Duty or Skyrim, just to show that she understands my hobby.

    It's really nice.

    Easiest way I've dealt with losing too much time on PC gaming - set a script that shuts PC down after an hour, or even 30 minutes.

    In the time it takes for the PC to reboot is sometimes enough time to realise it's time to go to bed.

      I dunno, PC's these days boot into your OS in under a minute and usable in that time frame too, it's not much of a hindrance.

    From the title, I thought it was going to be about the father taking advice and building something with his son in the real world.
    Taking a video game hobby and applying it to a useable skill.

    The thing about Gaming and most recreational technology is that its a very passive action, all the action is happening on screen or in the users mind.
    It can be difficult for others who aren't actively engaged in the experience to see someone playing a game or on the computer as somewhat of a zombie or couch potato, and not realise just how stimulating and engaging it really is.

    "My 12yr old son..." "...playing Halo and Call of Duty..." "“You mean you are building something and not shooting someone? Cool!”

    Dad asks for advice on how to be a parent.

    Buy the kid some Lego

      http://shop.lego.com/en-US/Minecraft-21102

    The first thing I hear from my 6 yo daughtter when I get home from work is "can we play minecraft tonight?" We normally spend about 45 minutes a few nights a week playing on the 360 version and she loves to build stuff or just run around collecting food.

    I'd say she is more "addicted" to it than I am, as she will often grab my laptop and play the PC version on her own in her room or watch videos on youtube and then try to copy them. Her thing at the moment is playing the Super Mario Bros Parkour maps.

    I personally don't see the harm in it, probably because I did the same thing when I was her age with my dad but our game of choice was Populous.

    I'm one of those people that could spend a whole day playing online, skip a meal or two, maybe even stay awake all night and keep going the following day. My parents were fine with it until I started high school, which was when I was given a laptop from the school and then just this past year, my school started a new class, Gaming, which was where I came into contact with Minecraft.
    Now I'm eagerly saving all my money for an Xbox 360, can hardly wait for school to start and spent a good few weeks finding out everything I could about Minecraft.

    Last week my school laptop turned off for the last time, buzzing and whining the whole way until the screen finally stopped working. I haven't handled it very well, although the thing ran like a busted ass and I couldn't play any games on it, it was my only connection to school friends and my secret boyfriend that my parents must never learn about. Shhhhh....
    Everything I do now, I do on my kindle, which is meant for reading books, though I tend to just talk with friends and read hilarious stories others have come up with.

    To wrap this up, I'd be over the moon if my parents would show some interest in with I do online (though not as creepy stalkers that watch my every move, that would suck) and maybe I can bring them up to speed with the tech I love to use.

    ...Still need a new computer.

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