Something shook me this morning. After several months of pleading, I relented to my oldest son’s requests and purchased an account for Minecraft. He had played Xbox and pocket editions, thoroughly scoured the Minecraft wiki for the details of every release, discussed the finer nuances with his friends ad nauseum. It was time, he declared, to let him participate in the real thing. At age 10, he’s precocious, mature and trustworthy enough to stay home alone. As I watched him log into a supposedly family friendly server to engage in “safe” multiplayer gaming, I felt a sudden wrenching in my gut. I just let a 10 year old walk alone into a back alley, a dark lot in the seedy part of town. Having set up his account, I understood, having read some of the disclaimers as I hit “NEXT >>”, that I was responsible for letting a minor, my child, participate in an activity that would let him make contact with just about anyone from anywhere with any kind of background, history or potential to do harm. Needless to say, I put a stop to it.
Ok, Daddy, I’ll just go single player, but can I play on a server that my friends set up?
I think any game that attracts kids, like Minecraft, needs to embrace a hardened authentication – proof that you are who you say you are. Corporations use authentication to determine the users on their networks. I’m not suggesting that a security infrastructure limit the creativity of the game, but that sensitive groups be allowed to opt-in to security.