How can obsession for a video game, be actually good for your children?
Screen addiction, irritable mood, decreased IQ, low confidence, destroying neurons and blah blah… isn’t this what screen addiction does to your child’s brain?
But now after 6 months of observing his obsession with Minecraft, I can say that his obsession is not destructive in fact it’s actually constructive.
The more I read about Minecraft the more I am able to draw a line between Minecraft and other conventional video games, where children have a mission to win the trophy or shoot monsters on the way.
Minecraft is different…..
Minecraft is actually an open sandbox. It’s like a virtual box of Legos, it’s a canvas where children are free to create their own world!
It has only been 6 months when my husband installed Minecraft on our iPad (Yes it’s our iPad and not only my son’s) and my son didn’t even know how to play it, that my hubby had to give him a short tutorial on it.
And now I can’t hear anything except for Minecraft.
I sometimes think, he can eat, sleep, walk and talk Minecraft.
His upcoming 7th birthday is definitely going to be a Minecraft birthday.
And it’s not just the Minecraft game on the iPad but Minecraft Youtube videos are becoming a major part of his obsession.
In the beginning, when he accidentally landed a Youtube Minecraft channel he was so excited, but I pricked up my ears when I heard profane language and I shut him out completely from Youtube.
I started hating Minecraft and I thought this game is going to destroy my son!
But when I saw my six-year-old watching Minecraft videos in hiding, I knew this is serious and something has to be done about it.
So together with the right combo of playing Minecraft on his iPad and watching these videos my son was much happier. However, I was still concerned about him being actually addicted to this game.
It was almost like he has no other passion in life besides Minecraft.
I am a blank page when it comes to video games. I have zero interest in these games and always believed reading and playing with blocks teaches us more.
So I had to figure out a way to manage his obsession with Minecraft. And the only way I could do it was by trying to understand the game.
I started showing interest and he was more than happy to answer my questions like…
“What is TNT? What are these pigs doing here?
How can you make steak?
Wow, how did you build such a nice room?
And so this was just the beginning, I started analyzing Minecraft obsession not just as an obsession but as a special fun class.
Minecraft Obsession isn’t Destructive: It’s Making Learning Fun
One day he came excitedly to me and said: “Mamma do you know how island are formed?“
I replied, “No, can you explain” “Island are formed from volcanoes…. ” I was amazed when he explained the entire process to me and told me he learned it from Stampy.
Minecraft is actually raising curiosity and critical thinking in children.
Critical mathematical skills
“Mama is 6+6+6=18?” “Yes” “Ok, So it means I need 18 blocks to build this wall?”
I mean since when did kids ask math questions or even think mathematically while playing computer games. Minecraft does that.
From coining terms such as “barter” and explaining it to us what it is and how I just did barter at the grocery store, I am actually starting to like Minecraft
By playing Minecraft he is developing the skill of creative thinking, math, and geometry. Not only on screen but his creativity is exploding with Minecraft, he wants to make castles with straws, cardboard or any thing that’s lying around and his drawing has improved.
I have also noticed his frustration level while trying to make something has greatly reduced. His focus has improved and more than the result he is enjoying the process.
He is also learning visuospatial reasoning skills (aka visual perception of objects).
His skills of abstract thinking and problem solving are improving each day and I am observing his mathematical skills are getting better.
Only yesterday he showed me on his iPad how a lever works. I mean the topic of the lever are one of the foundation topics in physics and my six year old knows about its mechanism only because of Minecraft.
And when it comes to geology and the different kinds of stones or rocks out there, through repeated attempts to set up a goal, he is learning what is a grass block, what is cobblestone, moss stone etc.
And trust me the more I read about; why you should let your kids play Minecraft I am actually loving it more.
In fact, Minecraft is being introduced in many schools as part of their curriculum . Teachers are using it as a very handy tool to teach basic math and geometry through visual screening and interaction.
While we crave for our kids to learn through play and outdoor sports, Minecraft is also becoming a major part of it.
Although parents need to be vigilant when their kids are playing video games, with proper guidance while playing Minecraft kids can have an endless resource to information, innovation, and creativity.