My son recently told me that he loves cuddling with me as much as he loves Minecraft. Which, if you know my kid, is a major compliment. And he’s not alone in his appreciation for the game: it’s estimated that over 170 million people worldwide play Minecraft. If your kiddo is one of them (or if they’re begging to be), this parent’s guide will help you understand what all the hype is about — and how to use Minecraft parental controls to keep your child safe while playing.
At its core, Minecraft is a video game where players mine and place blocks. But the beauty of Minecraft is its simplicity. Due to the endless possibilities, it’s possible to build some truly mind-blowing creations.
Users can toggle between creative mode — where building is the sole focus — and adventure and survival modes, where players face the elements, gather resources, and fight off various “mobs” trying to attack them.
It’s a bit like digital LEGOs, with minifigs that come to life on the screen.
Minecraft can be used solo or as a multiplayer game. Multiplayer mode is accessed when two or more players join a realm which one of them has created.
But the world of Minecraft goes far beyond gameplay. There’s a rich universe of Minecraft fanfiction, as well as endless YouTube and Twitch channels devoted to the game. Minecraft is a whole universe, and when kids fall for it, they often fall hard.
As kids build and explore realms in Minecraft, they’re immersed in creative thinking, geometry, geology, and engineering. They gain experience designing and making something from start to finish, and they are even exposed to the basic concepts behind coding.
There are also social benefits, and experts frequently recognize Minecraft as a valuable tool for supporting neurodivergent kids.
Like any multiplayer game, there are some potential risks for kids when playing Minecraft. However, with proper security precautions, it’s possible to mitigate these risks so your child can play safely.
In addition, while certain modes and settings allow for some violence, the blocky, old-school graphics makes the combat quite tame. Common Sense Media rates Minecraft as appropriate for kids 8+.
Minecraft accounts for players 16 and under (19 in South Korea) are automatically set as child accounts and must have an adult account linked to them. Only parents can modify the settings of a child account. To set up Minecraft parental controls, visit your account settings.
Here are the main safety features to look for:
If you prefer your child not play Minecraft online with others, disable their ability to join multiplayer games and clubs or access realms.
Realms are online worlds where users can play Minecraft together. There are two types of realms: public and private.
If you want to ensure your child is only playing with friends and not interacting with strangers, you can purchase a Minecraft Realms or Realms Plus subscription. Your child can then invite up to 10 friends to their private realm.
If you want to avoid the subscription fee and are technically inclined, you can set up your own private server instead.
Using Minecraft parental controls, you can specify if your child is able to add friends in Minecraft. Adding someone as a friend allows them to do things like join each other’s realms.
If you don’t want your child to be contacted by strangers while playing, make sure to disable chat for people who are not on their friend list.
For detailed instructions on how to set up parental controls, check out this guide from the makers of Minecraft.
If your child uses multiplayer mode in Minecraft, here are some tips for keeping them safe:
Minecraft has a reporting tool if your child is the recipient of inappropriate chat messages or dangerous behavior from other players. Moderators review all reports and take action when necessary.
Educating your child about online predators is an important tool for keeping them safe online. For tips and conversation starters, check out our guide.
Minecraft is a popular game that lends itself to rich, creative gameplay. There are many benefits for kids, but also some potential risks. Parents should utilize the robust, built-in safety features to help keep their child safe while playing.