Executive summary: Minecraft is a fun game that's loved by millions of children and adults. A huge number of 10-16 year olds play on-line. Connecting to a server is required for multi player, and is normal. It's no more risky than any other on-line social medium. It is the type of social medium that is largely the domain of children. The best way to understand it and to assess the risks is to try it out yourself and supervise. In my opinion the benefits out weigh the risks.
vitellan wrote:I have a 10 year old son who likes to play minecraft. Looks like a harmless game but one of his friends has given him a server address to log on to to play the game with him.
As a game, Minecraft is fairly harmless and a lot of fun. It can be played as a stand alone game as a single player. It can also be a multi player game. I've seen games of Minecraft with over 100 players interacting. Most Minecraft multi player games have somewhere around a dozen people on them. It varies a lot. Some multi player games are private. Some are public.
Logging in to a public server is a bit like going to the playground. Other kids can be playing there. Adults could be walking their dogs. Terrorists could be plotting Armageddon. If you are worried, go to the playground with your child. Or in this case, play Minecraft multi-player on-line yourself.
vitellan wrote:First, why does he need to log onto this server, what does this allow him to do that is not on the standard game, and is there anything I should keep an eye out for?
In order for all those players to interact, the multi player game needs to run on a server that everyone can connect to. Servers are computers that are publically findable on the internet by using the server's URL. This BNV forum is on a server. To interact with a server you usually need to log in. So multi player minecraft games are usually run on servers.
Minecraft is a commercial product. You buy a licence to use it, and every time you play the game, you start by logging in to verify that you are a legitimate user of the software. There are cracked versions of the game you can play for free that bypass this login. Once the game is running you have single player or multi player options. In multi player, you need to specify a server and then click the "Join Server" button to start playing. Joining the server sets up a network connection to a game server so you can play in a remotely hosted game with other people.
Was that too much detail or not enough?
Stop sign? Fixie don’t care.