Give me strength, for if another young male creature in this house utters the word “Minecraft,” I may strangle it with its own entrails. My ears, they ring with words like creeper and mining and server. Soon they shall implode and drip blood, which will roll out of my ears in block form. Not familiar with this game? You either live in a cave (LUCKY!), or have Luddites as children.
For the blissfully ignorant, Minecraft is
the slippery slope into Internet addiction and a life of living in my basement a Lego-type computer game. Players create whole worlds out of cubes, mine the land for more resources, and can play with others around the world. For the rest of us, it is the topic of every dinner table conversation, the background noise of our days, and will be the downfall of Western civilization when moms hit their breaking point and destroy power grids just to stop the madness.
The irony here, because there of course must be irony, is that I refuse to purchase the game for the boys. They do not have it, they do not play it. I’ve been informed on more than one occasion that I am a mean mom and that they are the only ones who don’t have the game. They are actually more than a little correct; all of their friends do play Minecraft, and I’m so used to being a mean mom that the accusation just gets filed away in the recycle bin with the others.
So, like a male gynecologist, they are experts on something with which they have zero firsthand experience. They watch Minecraft videos on YouTube, they build creepers out of Legos (see above), they talk about it non-stop with friends. But they don’t play. I have my reasons, and I’m not budging. I thought for a long time that we’d get it eventually, and that I could use it as currency for behavior and chores. I’ve since changed my mind. Both boys, but especially A, are skirting around the edge of screen addiction. We don’t have cable, only a Roku box, so they don’t watch much tv. But computers and iDevices have more than taken up the slack.
It’s tough, because A needs his tiny little netbook for school. He’s learning programming, needs it for a writing class he’s taking, and watches documentaries on the subjects he’s studying. His activities and classes are becoming more reliant on email and Skype, and that will only increase as the years go on. J practices math facts and roams the globe on Google Earth with his rapidly aging iPod. Most of the time they use tech for good, not evil. But then the balance tips and I don’t like the results.
So I’ve decided there will be no Minecraft in the House of Chaos. I’ve checked and double-checked my gut, and decided I don’t give a rat’s ass if that makes me a mean and out of touch mom. We don’t need anything else competing for our sons’ attention, especially since they already have a hard time with executive function issues (again mostly A, but J has his fair share due to his younger age). We don’t need anything else to cause arguments, to make it
impossible difficult to turn off the screen, to get prevent going outside to play. With our lives right now, I need them pitching in and doing more around the house, not causing me more work by A) doing what they could easily be doing, B) having to pry them off a computer to do what they’re supposed to be doing, and C) sewing their damned mouths shut so my ears don’t bleed from incessant Minecraft chatter.
I’ve drawn a line in the sand, and it is block-shaped.