Minecraft Safety Tips for Parents of Minecrafters

Photo: Getty Images

If you’re a parent of a child between the ages of 5-13 or so, you’re probably familiar with a game called Minecraft. Minecraft is a “sandbox” brick construction-type game available on multiple platforms, both mobile and PC.

Minecraft is more than just a game to kids. It lets them flex their creative muscles by building and exploring. It also allows them to interact with others on a social level. They seem to develop a whole other language that becomes increasingly foreign-sounding to parents. Creepers, Enderman, Ghasts. I have no idea what half of the things they're talking about are, all I know is that they seem to be having a good time and it doesn't seem to be too terribly violent, save the occasional exploding sheep or pig, so I'm not too worried about it, but I do have a few concerns as I'm sure most parents do.

Kids seem to spend hours and hours in these blocky Minecraft worlds online. As a parent, you have to wonder who your kids are playing with online, what are they doing, and is there anything going on that I should be concerned about.

Here Are 5 Tips to Help You Keep Your Minecrafter Safe:

1. Teach Your Kids About Online Stranger Danger

When my kids took Karate, they were taught the concept of Stranger Danger. Many of the concepts of Stranger Danger can be applied online as well. Make sure your Minecrafter knows that not everyone online is their friend and that even people who say they are kids might not really be kids and could be someone they shouldn’t talk to.

Make sure they know that people may try and trick them into providing personal information such as where they live and other facts about them. Scammers may also target kids to try to get them to obtain mom or dad’s credit card information.

Talk to your kids about this type of thing and make sure that they never give out their name, email, address, school information, or anything else personal, and MAKE SURE that their online alias used in Minecraft doesn’t contain any part of their real name.

2. Ensure The PC or Device They Are Using to Play Minecraft is Patched and Up to Date

Before you let your Minecrafter use multiplayer mode (where they connect with others on the Internet within the game) make sure that the device they are using has the latest security patches for the operating system, web browser, Java runtime, and that their Minecraft version is up to date as well.

3. Beware of Fake Minecraft Mods and Downloads - Update Antimalware, and Install a Second Opinion Scanner

If your child is a moderately experienced Minecrafter and has been online for a while, chances are, they’ve discovered the world of Minecraft mods and other downloads that have been developed by Minecraft enthusiasts. The “mods” can be really cool add-on enhancements to Minecraft, allowing for all new Minecraft-related experiences for your child.

Unfortunately, hackers and scammers may create malware that masquerades as Minecraft mods and your child may download it and infect their computer with malware, spyware, ransomware and all other kinds of bad stuff.

The best way to protect your Minecrafter and their PC is to make sure your antimalware is up to date. You should also consider installing a Second Opinion Malware Scanner. This second line of defense helps to catch malware that your front line scanner might miss.

4. Perform Random Inspections and Chat Checking

Sometimes the only way to know what is going on with your child is to observe them while they're in the Minecraft world. Pop in on them and check to see who they are chatting with. Ask them if they are talking to anyone that isn’t a real world friend, find out what they are saying and make sure that they aren’t chatting with random strangers.

Most Minecraft servers have a public chat function that is seen by everyone on the server. This is initiated when a user presses the "T" key. Some servers allow for private user-to-user messages but not all servers allow this and you can't tell if they do unless you view the list of available server commands (by pressing the "/" key).

If your kids want to talk to their friends while on Minecraft servers, it might be best to have them use Curse Voice or Skype and require them to allow you to approve all friend-adds to ensure that they are only talking to friends you approve of and not random strangers.

5. Use YouTube Parental Controls For Filtering Minecraft Content That Might Not Be Safe For Kids

If your kids are like mine, they are probably glued to YouTube for hours a day instead of watching the living room TV like we did when we were their age (I feel so old saying that).

There is a ton of Minecraft-related content on YouTube. Some of the YouTubers that produce Minecraft content are conscious of the fact that their audience may be made up largely of kids aged 6-12 and they will try to keep the language and content at an age-appropriate level.

Unfortunately, there are a bunch of other YouTubers that just don’t care who’s listening and will drop f-bomb after f-bomb causing parents to cringe and run into their kid's rooms looking for the mute button.

I haven't seen a definitive list of "family friendly" Minecraft YouTubers but I did some research (i.e. asked my kids) and found some names that seem to be on the clean side.

LDShadowLady. IHasCupquake. SmallishBeans, Aphmau, Stampylonghead, and Paulsoaresjr, are some of the cleaner YouTubers that feature Minecraft-related content (according to my kids).

Other than telling your kids which ones to watch and which ones to avoid, your other option is to turn on YouTube Parental Controls, some inappropriate content may still reach your child but at least it's better than no content filtering at all. Check out our article on How to Set up YouTube Parental Controls for details.

Was this page helpful?