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9 Reasons Your Child Should Be Playing Minecraft

Jan 16 2017 - 12:52pm

Does your child spend hours at their computer or game console playing Minecraft [1] ($20)? Well, that may not be a bad thing. Targeted toward kids between the ages of 9 and 15, this simple building-blocks game is one the few that successfully educates and entertains players [2]. While we don't encourage all-day play, your child [3] may benefit from playing Minecraft [4] for 30 minutes each night. From boosting their grades to improving their social skills, there are several reasons to make a little extra screen time [5] for this popular video game.

It Improves Their Academics

While playing Minecraft [6], your child will develop and improve their visuospatial reasoning skills (aka visual perception of objects). As the basis for abstract thinking and problem solving, these skills will help your child answer science and math equations in the most effective way. It will also cut down the time it takes them to solve problems, which means more time to play [7]!

It Encourages Creativity

When Minecraft first launched, the construction aspect was used as a survival tool. As the game grew, however, players let their imaginations take over and began building castles, tree houses, and homes that could only exist in dreams. Now, the game offers a creative mode option for players whose main passion [8] is to, well, create.

It Teaches Kids to Set (and Finish) Goals

Although the game has no specific goal like rescuing a princess or crossing the finish line first, players are rewarded when they complete certain tasks. This forces them to identify their own goal, develop a plan to best achieve it, and motivate themselves to accomplish it. Building self-regulation skills like these will teach your child how to complete tasks without constant reminders and help.

It Makes Math Fun

Geometry takes a little more work than plugging numbers into a calculator or drawing them on a line [9]. Minecraft's use of shapes and space might make the subject easier to comprehend.

It Gives Them Power and Confidence

Kids are often told they aren't big enough, old enough, or smart enough to take on certain tasks. Minecraft, however, proves that kids can be just as successful and skilled as adults. Also, because of the open-world format, kids — not a computer program — control the game.

It Appeals to Everyone

In addition to constructing shelter, players must survive in their new world by gathering materials and hunting for food. They must also protect themselves from a slew of dangerous elements such as hot lava and hostile creatures.

It Teaches Teamwork

By switching to multiplayer mode, kids can work together [10] to build and protect a whole new world.

It Helps Them Socially

Because of its diversity and popularity, Minecraft brings together kids from a variety of social groups. It has even helped some kids overcome their social struggles.

"My son does have some challenges with the kids at school, but Minecraft is the thing that brought them together," Christy Wyatt, a mother and the head of Good Technology, tells BBC News [11].

There's No Violence

In a world of way-too-graphic games, Minecraft lacks the gore factor that makes other games so popular. Given the number of studies that link video games to violent behavior in children [12], this trait is especially reassuring to parents.

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