Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Harris and a (computer) Game

one of Harris' eggs and yes, it is a character from MindCraft

We've had a bit of a problem around here with a video game called Mindcraft.  Have any of you heard of it?  Harris discovered it months ago and was addicted since the first time he played it.  I've had an uneasy relationship with it from the very beginning.  I know that addicted seems like a harsh word to use for an 8 year old, but I can't come up with a more appropriate word.  If he wasn't playing it, he was thinking about it and talking about it!  The children don't use media Monday-Thursday and are only allowed limited access on weekends*, but every weekend that rolled around the first thing he wanted to do was play this game!  Plus, and here's where it went south, Harris' behavior seemed to decline whenever he played the game.  He would be a bit more aggressive, listen a bit worse and be more likely to lose it in general.

Of course, in response to this the easiest answer is to take away his access to the game, right?  We did that for a few months, but we struggled with the idea that taking away the problem in total isn't teaching him how to deal with it.  So we allowed him to play again and hoped that a break was the answer.  It wasn't.  My final decision was made when I realized that he's simply not old enough to learn how to deal with it.  He should be learning how to deal with boredom instead.  We've finally pulled the plug (on Mindcraft) and I couldn't be happier with our decision.  It's a relief and I've already noticed a big difference.

*That's the intent at least.  However, we weren't always that great about keeping to the time limits.

P.S.  I found this post a little extra hard to publish.  I certainly don't want to be disrespectful to Harris but I also feel that this is an issue that I can't be the only one to bump up against.


  1. You are not alone. While I have similar restrictions I am finding that when they go to other children's houses they all have that darn game and they have the full version. we have the free version, which doesn't have as many bells and whistles. So my efforts to limit the game are somewhat thwarted.
    Don't you wish that there was some way to figure out what is so addictive about that game?

  2. Goodness, this sounds so very familiar! We have also taken away electronic privileges these last two months. We have had a very similar situation - naughty behavior after having to turn the games off and poor listening. The restriction has been great and the behaviors have improved. The bonus - the games aren't even missed!

  3. I am so glad you posted your experience. My son LOVES to build with Legos. He pulls out his blocks and spends hours creating ships and flying machines. So many friends have told me he would love Mindcraft but something has held me back from checking it out. After reading your post,I am so glad I followed my instinct. I think we will stick with the Lego blocks and avoid Mindcraft.

  4. Hi Anna, I found your blog this weekend and if you see someone cruising through your archives its me - a reader from Texas.
    I also pulled the plug on MineCraft, and for the same reason...instant addiction, really uncontrollable behavior after playing it and ultimately realizing the 3 little ones are just not ready for it. I was really relieved to read that another Mother has felt the same way, and taken the same steps!


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