“Jake killed my chickens and villagers”.
“He blew up my house”.
These are some of the recent complaints I’ve heard about Jake’s actions on our class Minecraft server. Since we started using the server, there has been a stream of griefing from Jake (for the uninitiated, that’s gamer-speak for destroying or damaging).
Jake is a nice kid, just a bit immature and impulsive.
I had a real-life chat to him about the griefing yesterday and drew an analogy between Minecraft creations and the robots the children made in class last term out of cardboard, polystyrene and bits and pieces.
Many children were very proud of their robots and Jake looked horrified when I asked him whether he would have deliberately damaged someone else’s robot. Yet somehow he sees online creations as different from real world creations.
What Jake also doesn’t realise (because he’s only 10) is that his online interactions form his online reputation and his online reputation could eventually affect his real world reputation.
Through his griefing, he’s demonstrating that he can’t be trusted to collaborate on the server.
My son who is close in age to my class and helps me run the server started to form an opinion of Jake as a nasty person. He’s never met Jake in person, just onIine.
A Minecraft server is not very high-stakes but it’s an example of a situation where children need to understand and practise digital citizenship skills such as etiquette, respect and collaboration.
I hope this learning experience is helping Jake to understand what a good citizen does and doesn’t do.