What is with me/us? We keep making the same moronic decision year after year after ...
This morning Dr. D and I had the last of our hastily rescheduled parent-teacher conferences. Today, St. Nick. Overall a glowing report. He's smart, creative, a good kid. But in eerie similarity to Fish's conference last week, St. Nick is distracted, unfocussed, rushes through his work without attending to detail. Fish, in addition, talks obsessively and in great detail about Minecraft.
Minecraft. Ah. Ugh. Mine-crap, we've come to call it (with a German accent, of course - Mein Crap!).
In many ways it's a fabulous game. Not even a game. A creative universe. I mean, I've played the pocket edition a couple of times. I dug a tunnel through a mountain and marked the entrances with torches and made a staircase to the mountain top where I started on a house before I got bored. If I had patience/coordination/unlimited TIME to waste, I could easily spend hours and hours and hours creating all sorts of cool places. And I don't even know how to spawn or make a crafting table! St. Nick has won awards of some sort for his skins and other designs. Fish talks on the phone with his school chum while they both play on the same server. I hear little shrieks of, "No, no! He got my pickaxe! It was a diamond pickaxe!" Jillions of parents rave about and defend the game, saying it's educational and creative and encourages all the right things.
Maybe it does. But for our boys, it turns them into zombies. All summer I had to battle to get them outside (plus battle the 100+ temps). I've tried reward systems and "currency" systems where they earn computer time by working, behaving, going outdoors, etc. All work for a day or two, then it's back to MINECRAFTMINECRAFTMINECRAFT every waking moment unless I am physically standing over them forcing them to, say, eat. They may be superbly creative in their virtual world, but they've lost the ability to be creative - hello, to even exist - in the real world. Our trip to Milwaukee was a gentle Minecraft Detox. Once home, I planned to let them play the game on a strict schedule.
We encouraged St. Nick sell his Nintendo DS for similar reasons, and we won't let him keep the Wii someone wants to give him - meanies that we are. Now that Minecrap is affecting school, sorry boys, it's GAME OVER.