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My daughter's school was blown up. No students were harmed,
but the main building on the campus was completely destroyed, as well as the
Before your start racking your noggin trying to recall when this horrendous
act took place on U.S. soil, I should mention that this attack
didn't happen in reality. Rather in my daughter's carefully constructed
During an epic online building jaunt with a few friends, a
stranger came into her multi-player session and bombed the school she had
meticulously built—a school that took her hours to create. In an instant, her
Minecraft world (and her trust in fellow players) was crushed.
actual property was harmed. But the emotional pain and loss she felt was very much
real. This was a form of terrorism, albeit a virtual one.
I shared this act of senseless online violence on my Facebook page, and fellow
parents with Minecraft lovin' offspring were just as shocked as I was that this
This is a thing that can happen!?"
A malevolent gamer could come in and attack her land.
"No!!!!! That's horrible."
"Lmao! Bless her heart, her first
REAL MMO experience! I'm so proud." (The last from a older gamer cousin).
I had thought this was a unique
experience, that my daughter was just unlucky that this happened to her. But, as it turns
out, she is far from alone. This form of gamer mayhem is an emerging trend, and
the acts are performed by computer savvy bullies known as "griefers"
(an apt name since they spread grief among unsuspecting players).
The platform that my daughter was playing was the Minecraft
Pocket Edition (PE) version, a format that is
popular with younger players. While she once only played in creative mode by
herself, she began to engage in the multi-player mode so that she and a few
friends from school could build, and create together. That multi-player
choice made it possible for a stranger, one of these "griefers," to do damage
with TNT, fire, water, lava and other tools. A malevolent gamer could come in and attack her land.
As it turns out, this is a growing problem, one
that developers are trying to crack down on.
Destruction of one's online creations is bad enough, but a player can also be
virtually "mugged." Beth
Blecherman, founder of TechMamas.com, wrote
about her son's experience of not just having his Minecraft inventory stolen
but being lured by the promise of "free diamonds" to a no-holds-barred battle
where players had to escape from being "killed."
Fellow players took the time to come and help her rebuild her school. Also, this experience opened my eyes.
there are no free diamonds either in Minecraft or in life," she wrote on her site.
It was painful lesson for my daughter, that
dangers, albeit virtually, are around any cubic corner in Minecraft. It doesn't matter whether you are there with the intentions of being creative (like she was) or
in survival mode (like she was forced into).
Still, there was some goodness that came
out of the ruins. Fellow players took the time to come and help her rebuild
her school. Also, this experience opened my eyes.
Here are three things I learned that can prevent it from happening again:
Tips for keeping your kid's Minecraft world safe:
1. Don't do the multi-player mode. If your child is playing by herself, this won't
be an issue. 2. Don't put "No Griefers Allowed" on your server description. They see this as an
invitation. 3. If griefers do come into your child's world, instruct her not to engage in
revenge. The cycle will then just continue. Instead have your kid take a break from Minecraft for awhile. This makes the griefer bored. Then, go in and rebuild.