Minecraft taught my daughter important Digital Citizenship and Leadership Skills

In 2011-12 My daughter, then 10 going on 11 dived into Minecraft, introduced by me, via the original Massively Minecraft server. She found her tribe. Her bunch of buddies that had a similar infatuation to create, play and communicate.

In the MM server she worked her way through levels and badges to become a Junior Moderator. Her weekends and after school hours were spent learning so many things. If I think back on a list of what she learnt through Minecraft, I would have to list:
  • Basic Coding - the powers that Junior Moderators held gave her some great 'map powers'. Who can forget that Lava Game they made?
  • Design Principals - Planning, building for practical use, building for aesthetic use, building for fun
  • History - There was the Greek Temple week. The Japanese village she made. The catapults.
  • Novel Study - Who can forget the Hunger Games and the districts she built, destroyed and belonged to
  • IT Skills - This was perhaps her first time to really get into computer gaming
  • Leadership - She had to help newbie miners, and loved doing so
  • Global Communication strategies - she learnt what time zones were and when her buddies from other countries would arrive in the server
  • Communicating with Non-English Speakers - I will never forget the da they worked out one of their best Minecraft buddies was from Sweden and didn't speak English well. She made sure he felt included and part of their buddy circle
  • Negotiation skills - Survival worlds always bought out the need to barter and beg
  • Teaching others - she learnt how to share her knowledge with different skill levels.

One of the main things she learnt was Digital Citizenship - There were tears when builds were smashed and lava flowed. There as rage quitting. But thanks to the adults on the server, these issues were mostly talked through and sorted. She learnt she can walk away from online behaviours that worry her, but also learnt to face the issues and work through them. Sometimes I think she is stronger online than she is when issues arise IRL. This doesn't bother me. I know she will continue to grow IRL, and flourish online when others struggle to deal with the online behaviours of teenagers that we should accept and stand beside our children to work through, not slam or admonish.

She made so many friends in Minecraft. Our house was filled with discussion of Minecraft Nicknames. I had to often remind myself of which choild was which, they changed their names so often. these Minecraft friends often met face-to-face. They were the ultimate online and face-to-face buddies. Often continuing conversations started online IRL. It was wonderful to see. They had sleep overs, birthday parties, minecraft meetups, movies trips. Last year they even got together to watch the newest Hunger Games together. There as Mobee, Boofa, Kiwi, CoolHotdogs, CoolBananas, in fact the whole CoolFamily were there.

As a parent, I too became involved with MM. I took on a supervision role 1 or 2 nights a week for a couple of hours. I let the kids teach me stuff, kept them focussed on appropriate behaviours and just generally chilled in a different space. My daughter used to love those nights. And to be honest, I did too! It made m understand more about the platform, more about digital citizenship, and more about my daughter. I recommend this to any miner parent. Jump in and give it a go! It's really quite fun. Embrace your inner lego making child and let your kids lead you through life for a while.

And while she was learning all these wonderful skills, she still did things IRL. She played hockey, hung out with friends, went shopping, visited family and even came on sightseeing adventures in her new home of Sydney. We made a balance, and we made it work.

To my daughter, Minecraft was a fun place of friendship, play and challenge.

Then came the day she became a high school girl, and suddenly geekdom was not cool. Suddenly she only played when invited by her old Minecraft buddies. This makes me sad, and mad. I just went searching for an excellent how-to video she made, but she has deleted it. I hope she again embraces her inner creative geek and finds something that engages, takes her on new learning journey's and introduces her to a new friendship group.

Below are some of the awesome builds that the MM Crew built while she was an active member. I only wish I could find more of the cool things they made, cause they were really cool!

Thank you Dean, Bron and Jokay for all you put into that server. It was special. A part of my daughter's memories that she will smile about forever.