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Is it OK to let my kid play Minecraft for hours?

An open-ended building game with seemingly endless possibilities, Minecraft can be mighty engrossing. On the plus side, Minecraft can reinforce geometry concepts as it strengthens players' thinking and reasoning skills, creativity, and even collaboration. The game has a strong, positive online community and even has an educational module teachers can modify for classroom lessons on different subjects. On the downside, as you've discovered, it's a time suck.

Even "good" games can be played to excess, and homework, chores, family obligations, and real-world social activities can take a backseat when kids can't -- or won't -- stop playing. And even if your kid is learning from the game, other areas of life are important, too.

Help your kids self-regulate. Start by having a conversation about all their daily duties and figure out how much game time fits in. Create a calendar, have them set a timer, and reward them for sticking to the time limits. If you've tried this and want more control over their screen time, consider installing a parental-control program that lets you set daily screen limits for different programs.

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Comments

Adult written by utk

Minecraft is really so helpful for children now, as there is Minecraft Education Edition also which is really so helpful for children to learn about chemical reactions, and as you wrote in your article, it encourages children to aim their goal and then they achieve it. I got a useful information from your article and I also made some points on the same on my blog: https://www.utkgamer.in/2020/05/5-reasons-why-children-should-play.html
Kid, 10 years old

I love Minecraft and it is a great game to unleash your creativity and bring dreams to life. It is way better then fortnite and roblox but one thing I will warn you about is public servers. They online play is not rated, the game itself even tells you that. The only bad thing about Minecraft is the language but on Minecraft you can create your own private server where only people you invite can play with you like school friends, family members, and in some cases like mine, church friends. Now, there is no blood but minor violence when the monsters such as Zombies, skeletons, creepers etc. spawn and will try to kill you. It is similar the fortnite in a way where you build and defend. Make sure your kids are not playing public behind your back because trust me, I have many friends who do that. BTW at the max your kid should play Minecraft for 2-3 hours max and on multiplayer 3-4 because friends may want you to stay on longer. So watch out for language on public servers and kids 8+ IF MATURE ENOUGH should be aloud to play Minecraft.
Kid, 10 years old

I’ve played Minecraft for a year, and I absolutely LOVE IT!! I think it can actually teach kids good things. Idk why it’s rated 10+ (even tho I’m 10) I think it should be rated like 6+. It can teach a lot about survival. Now, Mojang has added things like creepers and the nether and stuff like that to make the game FUN. In Creative Mode, you can learn a lot about creativity and build anything you want. Minecraft is like literally the only video game I’m allowed to play. I used to play Roblox, but I’m not allowed to play it anymore, which really stinks. I can’t play Fortnite bc of “violence”. All of my friends play it, and I can’t. They’ve started to mock Minecraft. Only very few of my friends still play Minecraft. Everyone says Minecraft is for “babies”. But that is NOT true. I’ve actually played Minecraft straight for 12 hours before, because yes, it is a very addictive game. And no offense or anything, but Minecraft will always be better than Roblox or Fortnite will EVER be.
Teen, 16 years old written by SamLikesGoats

I myself play a lot of minecraft (9 years of my life ive had it) and I find its really hard to stop what you are doing mid way through. I have projects that I have spent 6 hours straight trying to build. But that is when im 16 and its winter break. Try to make your kid play "goal based" instead of "time based". Make them decide what they want to do and then complete it and then log off. It will teach them regulation and goal setting far better then a timer.
Teen, 16 years old written by no_no_no333

yeah let them play just dont let it get in the way of real life interactions and going out and enjoying outside, depending on how old they are the more freedom they get., dont be a helicopter pearant. if you have tought your child right now your job is to trust their judgement and if they over do it they will learn, if you prevent them from doing somthing, they are only going to want to do it more, its basic child behavior. TRUST YOUR CHILDS JUDGMENT IT IS IMPORTANT TO EXERCISE THIS BECAUSE THEY WILL FROM THEIR MISTAKES DONT BABY THEM. Its funny how all of these 11 and 12 year olds are saying only 2-3 hours you would think they wanted more hours??? dont have 'hours' have 'you have played alot today what els do you have to do, homework, go outside, have a friend over, come to the park with me, and you can play later. OR EVEN BETTER PLAY THE GAME WITH YOUR CHILD AND YOU WILL UNDERSTAND WHY AND IT MAY BECOME A BONDING THING YOU DO WITH THEM. if they are that interested make a world with them and play together. P.S. i used to love minecraft and i think it is a beautiful game
Adult written by Thantea

I have played Minecraft for a long time on and off, since it came out, I am working as a professional civil engineer for one of the largest companies in the UK and studying a part time fully sponsored PhD Growing up I was always around games, its defiantly had a positive impact on my professional life. I believe that these sorts of games can be much better for brain development that sitting for hours in front of a passive entertainment like television, see it as a form of entertainment, not something evil, being taught to have a good work life balance is an important lesson to learn growing up, if it isn't video games I am sure they would be staring at a TV with you or surfing Youtube. I would recommend parents encourage their kids to play through a Microsoft running computer rather than a console, there is even kits out there where you learn about electronics and coding, (PI top V2 for example, this may be a stripped back version of the game) if you give your child no option to get into the game other than picking up those skills, they will pick it up fast. being comfortable around a computer is important for a lot of modern professions and being comfortable to navigate a 3D space and being able to operate a computer to a high level can open a lot of doors for people. Prime example, my automation project at work runs off a cloud server. I learned all my networking skills through minecraft servers and playing the game with mods, though I wont be promoting that to my employers. The game has a huge number of positive online communities and gaming groups are often a great friendly place for people to learn social skills and how large numbers of players can come together to build brilliant things in an organised fashion, shrill and brat like behaviors are discouraged. There are also several mods which add complicated blocks into the game (like buildcraft for example) which enable people to make complex self running machines which develop key problem solving skills and encourage creative thinking towards problems that players face. as for time spent staring at a screen, learning that some things need a lot of patience to create and being able to focus at a computer for hours to achieve a goal is an excellent skill to gain. But I will reinforce that children need to maintain the discipline of work life balance to avoid gaining bad habits. Good luck to parents
Teen, 13 years old written by Teen2005

I’m a thirteen year old and an avid Minecraft player. I might be biased, but I’d like to say that Minecraft is a great game that will build your kids’ creativity. Yes, it does involve killing, but the killing is optional (Peaceful a/o Creative mode). Also the main point of the game is to build, explore, and have fun with it. No, your child shouldn’t play upwards of two hours (that really WOULD be bad for them) but under two hours should be fine. Let them have fun and live their life. Screen time is part of modern society.
Kid, 12 years old

No. Not for hours. I would say give them a limit on screens to 2-3 hours a day. Tell them this limit beforehand so they won’t get mad and throw a tantrum when you tell them to get off. I say 2-3 hours because when I was younger, I would ask my mom if I could go on the computer and she would say “only for 5 minutes.” And then that would be all the screen time I would get for the entire day (this only happened on weekends I wasn’t allowed screen time on school days). I always felt cheated somehow because 5 minutes was not enough to get stuff done that I wanted to do.
Teen, 13 years old written by Nolen

It is fun to play a little Minecraft every once in a while. I mainly use commands and plugins because I find that it is a bit more interesting to experiment while I play. When I sit down at my computer, I find that it is also very pleasant for my brain to go outside after 30 minutes of playing. my advice for parents is that Minecraft is not a bad game to play and it can also enhance your kids creativity and engineering skills but what I find with my brothers and my cousins is that once they get to the 2 or 3 hour mark of solid staring at a screen, their brain is less acceptable to the creativity and social interaction factor but they begin to crave it for the solid stimulation and cartoon sounds and vibrations or "mental vibrations". it can become addicting and they will cry and punch you if you take it away so, make sure you plan for about 90-95% of your child's day playing in the forest and enhancing their ENGINEERING and CREATIVITY knowledge in other ways also. Minecraft is not bad when it is meticulously given. it is obvious to not let your child waste anywhere near to 50% of there day on Minecraft and that said, even on the computer.
Adult written by Kris40

My kids who are both ASD age 5 and 7 get 1-2 hours every other day as long as we have no other plans. It’s helped them enormously with being creative, spelling and reading. When they aren’t playing it they draw plans and pictures of things they want to make on there. I think it’s anazing as long as it’s offline and not to often. I’ve tried to play it with them and I don’t get it it’s far to advanced for my game skills.
Teen, 14 years old written by ur mom on minecraft

I think its ok to play for at least 2-3 hours at a time because its teaching them to have a growth mind set on what they are gonna do in the future, its teaching them survival in real life incase :P , and last but not least u should buy them Minecraft
Teen, 16 years old written by Live Life0909

Minecraft is about building with your friends and having fun BUT you should not be on games 24'7 if your a parent you should try to do some thing fun with your kid that they like(outside BTW). i play games all the time and when my parent(when not working) asks me to help with wood or go some were i turn off the game and go with them, just find something that the kid likes to do outside and do that with them.
Kid, 12 years old

I think this game should be 16+ because it has killing in it and little kids shouldn't experience that sort of thing until they are mature enough.
Teen, 13 years old written by Turtleturtlyness

I strongly disagree! There is no gore in the original minecraft, and unlike games little kids are currently playing, minecraft is family friendly! Please understand, minecraft is a fairly good platform for kids to be on, and rating it as 16 + seems a little unreasonable for absolutley no gore, and the only "killing" is cheezy hitting sound effects when you make contact with another player or monster.
Teen, 15 years old written by Common sense LST

No. They have to do their work and chores and other important things first. They need to be involved in at least one extracurricular activity. They should be doing other things first. They can only play it if they have done their chores and work.
Kid, 12 years old

I don’t think they should be forced to do extracurricular activities. They should do what they find interesting, and if that’s video games, you should respect that.
Adult written by Kris40

I feel sorry for your kids then. Computers are the future and if they don’t get time to use them they are going to be very behind. Times have changed. Just like when the brought out the Newspaper/Radio/Tv/Internet. It’s the way it is. 1 hour a week is ridiculous but each to their own I suppose.
Adult written by DullBoringBland F.

No your child should not play mine craft at all! They should be outside and having real fun like tag or they could be inside reading or studying! I only have my children have 1 hour of restricted on screen time a weekend so they can learn how to split their time.
Teen, 13 years old written by Turtleturtlyness

The sad thing, is a lot of adults say children aren't allowed to be on electronics at all. I respectfully disagree, and on the contrary, it is easy to be entertained by games (especially family friendly and somewhat educational games like minecraft!) Personally, online games like minecraft and roblox were a good way for me to learn how to type, which is a huge asset for school and a major time saver. For a while my mother had me and my siblings earn our screen time. You could do this by cleaning, reading, going outside, exercising, etc. It is a lot more reasonable. I am a huge bookworm, and can easily read for 3 hours at a time. I still go outside and am an active person, but occasionally I play with friends online, or watch a movie for a while. This can sometimes take 2 or maybe even 3 hours! It isn't that I do this on a daily basis, but it seems cruel to permanently have children on an hour a day, because there is so much they miss out on!
Adult written by Evan F.

I used to play Minecraft for around 5-7 hours a day and it helped me learn to read and it thought me to spell and I used to get really stressed out talking to anybody but chatting with other people (strangers) on Minecraft servers it helped me now I'm a very chatty child
Adult written by Kris40

That’s amazing! It’s helped my 5 year old with Asd to read some big words as well and he’s so creative on there it’s unreal!
Teen, 13 years old written by Fun2PlayGamez

Sure, anything can be fun but there should be limits. If your child is playing hours on end and doesn't want to stop, instead of negative reinforcement, like taking it away, motivate your child to use less screen time. Some examples are money, new apps, or even really cool family outings.
Adult written by Ms.Cosmo

Although there's no need for me to have concern about this particular game,etc.I do believe that parents/caregivers commonsense definitely needs to be used when it comes to how much time is being spent w/electronics usage. Time allotment & scheduling are both important,from birth up. Reading through the comments,everyone's got their own opinions&they should!No2children,or people are alike&screen time will vary. I read an article written by a doctor,who recently conducted a study pertaining to video games,children&the effects they had on them & in conclusion he found that "video gaming",is in fact linked to Several Health issues & not just obesity but also ADHD,in Some Cases.In my personal opinion,you need to monitor electronics usage according to the particular child,obviously their homework,chores,etc.need to be completed before usage begins,then set a timer,that way there's no discrepancy of the length of time he/she was on the device. Good luck to anyone who needs it. :-)
Kid, 11 years old

Over the summer i would play for hours on end and got bad headaches from eyestrain so id suggest 3 hours max a day.
Teen, 14 years old written by DragoRyu

You see, Minecraft can let your kids learn some skills, such as social, creativity etc. It is normal to let your kids to play for a few hours, but not like 4 or 5. 1 - 2 will be good. If you are a parent, your kids want to spent a few more minutes, don't freak out and call a doctor that your kid is addicted. Some parents just literally take the computer away, and the kid cry until you give it back. Which one is better? Crying until you give it back or let your kid just play a few minutes.
Teen, 14 years old written by ripjaw960

Ok, its fine to play as long as your kid does his homework and chores and other responsibilities. And also don't freak out because your kid wants to spend a couple hours on Minecraft, it's better to let them and pull them off after a few hours. I don't think parents should be commenting on this page because, honestly you have no idea what your talking about when it comes to video games. Also to the person who commented below "most people with ADHD are gamers", that doesn't mean that gaming gives your kids ADHD. That is just a statement saying most kids with ADHD like video games, not that video games cause ADHD.
Kid, 11 years old

Just make sure your kids Xbox/PlayStation/or Computer is in the living room. Then, have them complete all their home work and chores and let them play until dinner time.
written by Jimmy brew

I don't think there's anything we can really do about this since kids love minecraft but if it's multiplayer you should watch them play and watch what they text. If they use fowl language,take the electronic device away
Kid, 12 years old

Minecraft is a creative and fun game. The creative and building aspects allow players to build constructions out of textured cubes in a 3D procedurally generated world. Other activities in the game include exploration, gathering resources, crafting, and combat. Multiple gameplay modes are available, including survival modes where the player must acquire resources to build the world and maintain health, a creative mode where players have unlimited resources to build and the ability to fly, and an adventure mode where players play custom maps created by other players. this game can be used for education..... just find a way :D
Kid, 12 years old

Possibly not as much as I love the Internet I still think we need time with friends in the real world.
Teen, 14 years old written by Basicly No One

Sí. It is not bad as long as you have balance. Example, I am 5'6 113lbs, I play 4 sports and have all A's. That is balance. Having failing grades is not.
Kid, 12 years old

It may simply be unhealthy to play too much minecraft specifically, as you are oftentimes exposing yourself to the same blocks a lot using the same procedures, and it's too repetitive to do that most of the time.
Adult written by Evan F.

I would play Minecraft for hours a day and it taught me math reading and spelling and I used to be unable to stay in a conversation because I would get to stressed but Minecraft taught me social skills so now I'm a very chatty person and name something that's not repetitive life for a kid goes like this wake up get dressed eat breakfast go to school get home eat dinner go to bed and fops games are shoot kill die shoot kill die life is repetitive
Kid, 12 years old

have you heard of breaks, and the whole point in Minecraft is that you build, mine, battle, and just having fun! but its your oppinion so yeah :|
Kid, 11 years old

yes i think its fine i play games like halo and call of duty for hours but thats not minecraft my mom usuallly says i can have 1 day a week were i play for like 24 hours then i go on a long break and go outside and be active
Parent of a 8 and 18+-year-old written by manuella12

Minecraft is educational as time consuming. My daughter is fascinated with this game and even though she is leaning it takes away time from outdoors activities. She is well monitored while she plays which some time is against her coursing if let to then they will play all day.