What is so alluring about Minecraft?

COLUMBUS, Ohio (WCMH) — Minecraft: a creative and time consuming video game that kids love and can play for hours and hours.

“You can do whatever you want to do, so I think that might be why so many kids like it, because they can do whatever they want to do,” said 10-year old Claire Thomas who loves how she can create and build things in the Minecraft game with her eight-year old sister Sarah Thomas.

Their mother watches carefully how much time they spend on the game though.

“Technology isn’t going away, so the more comfortable with it they are, the better,” said Tasha Thomas of Hilliard, Ohio.

Eight-year-old Levi Mendelson is a whiz at the game and has taught his younger sister Gabi how to play. Their mom is careful to make sure they don’t play online and talk to strangers through the game, but likes what the kids learn through the game.

“They can build what they want…make anything happen…and if they don’t like it they can erase it and start over,” said Michal Mendelson of Blacklick, Ohio.

But the worry is how much time kids can log on the game. Minecraft is an endless game, so kids can play hours and hours if parents aren’t setting rules and time limits for the game.

“I think the time limit is important, having a general guideline for ‘here’s really the maximum amount of time of use we’d like to see each day,’ I think that’s important,” said Dr. Rebecca Baum, a Developmental Behavior Pediatrician at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus.

The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends children two years and older limit screen limit to one or two hours a day. That includes video games, television, i-pad and computer time.

“If we’ve been at the pool all day, come home and relax with Minecraft for an hour — no problem, “ said Tasha Thomas who emphasizes with her daughters that they need to balance  Minecraft with outdoor and educational activities. Minecraft is helpful in motivating her daughters to get chores done at home.

“It’s like you haven’t cleaned your room, the electronics go away and then magically everything gets done really quickly,” laughed Thomas.

It’s a similar story at the Mendelson home. Levi has to work for his Minecraft time.

“He knows he has to earn it, so he has to get his homework done and do chores,” said Michal Mendelson.

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