Your Child Can Now Enjoy Everything Minecraft has to Offer
and You Can Be Confident They’re Protected from Bullies,
Bad Influence and Predators thanks to CrafterWatch
Dear fellow Parent,
A little over a year ago, I told my seven year-old son David that he couldn’t play Minecraft for a few days. It was a consequence for something he’d done and I felt it was the only thing I could do that would really matter to him. I’ll never forget the look of terror in David’s eyes, or the fear in his voice as I explained the punishment.
He protested that it was his favorite thing in the world. He told me that his only real friends were on Minecraft. He begged, and I wondered whether or not I was doing the right thing. But I didn’t know what else to do…and I didn’t understand exactly how he could spend so many hours on the computer. So I held my ground.
72 hours later, David was logging back onto Minecraft, and it excited me a little to see just how happy he was. My wife and I stood in the other room, wondering aloud whether this form of punishment was effective…whether it was the best thing to do for our son..
And then we heard a cry…and a moan so painful I felt a jarring surge of adrenaline. Something was wrong….something terrible was happening under my roof….
David Was Staring Blankly at the Computer Screen…Tears Running Down His Face. I Had Prohibited Him From Playing Minecraft for Three Days and In That Time His ‘Best Friend’ had Raided His World and Destroyed Everything David Had Spent Months Building
To make matters worse, his so-called ‘friends’ were taunting him. I would later learn David had confided to his friends in a chat room that he was being punished and wouldn’t be back online for three days. While he was gone, they raided his world, destroyed things he’d carefully constructed through countless hours of work, and then mocked him afterwards.
As he walked out of the room, I felt like I’d been punched in the stomach. David had been punished twice-first by me, and then again by his ‘friends’. I didn’t really understand Minecraft, and that lack of understanding had led me to implement a punishment that was disproportionate. He truly had been punished twice.
I couldn’t undo the betrayal by his ‘friends’ or the destruction they’d caused. But I resolved that day to better understand Minecraft, so I could help David and protect him. That was the day CrafterWatch was born.
As my wife and I thought through what had happened, we realized we didn’t really understand Minecraft. All we knew was that our special-needs son loved it, spent a lot of time playing it, even more time talking about it, and because it was so valuable to him, it had become the ‘go to’ solution for us when other forms of discipline just didn’t work.
But in our frustration we’d failed to grasp what was really going on in his heart and mind.
I began talking to David about Minecraft, how it worked, exactly what he did when he was playing, how he made ‘friends’, and all the rest.
I discovered, for the first time, that Minecraft gave him a sense of control he never felt in his ‘real’ life. He could make decisions for himself, he could try out new things, he could make mistakes and learn from them, and start over. He could build things he was proud of, and he could show them to friends. He was able to make friends online when he’d always struggled to in real life. But he was still just a child-and couldn’t recognize warning signs in the conversation with those ‘friends’ that as an adult I instantly observed.
I Built CrafterWatch to Help Me Keep an Eye on My Son’s Minecraft Activity…So I Knew When Someone Was Bullying Him, or When He Connected to a New Server with a PG-13 Rating, or When a ‘Friend’ Started Using Bad Language or Bullying Tactics
The program I wrote was simple, but powerful. I installed it on our PC and told it to run whenever my son connected to a Minecraft server. CrafterWatch would listen silently, and if it observed bad language, profanity, vulgarity, bullying, griefing behavior, or noticed my son’s real name being used, I got a text message and email instantly. I felt like I was back in control. I felt like I’d won parenting that day.
I explained to David what I was doing beforehand. I didn’t want him to feel like I was spying on him…I wanted him to understand that I was helping him, not just to protect him from bad guys, but also to learn how to build relationships. I recognized that some of these friends he had developed were good kids, kids like him that loved the challenge and the opportunities and the friendships that were possible online.
Those first couple of conversations after I got alerts from CrafterWatch helped me to develop it further. It wasn’t good enough to get a text message alerting me to a bad word, or a set of words…I needed to know who had used that language, and in what context.
So I developed a language learning program that could identify the context in which the alert had been generated. That way, I could respond to a text message alert by logging into the dashboard and reading the dialogue myself.
Sometimes I was surprised. It wasn’t always the other kid who was misbehaving. I learned a lot about my son in those early days…and what I learned allowed me to be a better parent.
Instead of always just threatening punishment, I was able to intervene, and talk with him about his activity, his friends, and share with him important lessons that I wouldn’t have otherwise had the easy opportunity to discuss.
Before long, our relationship was transformed. David was talking with us more than ever, sharing with us the details of his accomplishments in Minecraft, and even talking to us about his friends. We learned their names, and soon felt towards them much like we would have if they had been right next door…except that David had always struggled (and still does), to make and keep friends in real life.
But now those friends were part of the conversation at the dinner table, in the car, and over the course of our day. David was not only growing, but our relationship was improved.
Most Importantly, My Wife and I Now Understood What Was Going On In Our Son’s Life and How We Could Interact With Him on His Level and Be the Parents We Always Wanted to Be
With CrafterWatch giving us a virtual window into the online activity of our son, we feel like the games he’s playing online could just as easily be happening in the safety of our backyard. We can keep an eye on things and know instantly when there’s a problem. We don’t hesitate now to allow him to play online, because we know what he’s doing. We no longer worry about all the hours he spends on Minecraft, or whether or not we’re doing the right thing if and when we need to restrict game time.
CrafterWatch has changed other parents’ lives as well. Listen:
We live in exciting and extraordinary times, where technology is making so many things possible that just a few years ago would have been unimaginable. And yet, these same developments often bring with them unforeseen risks. CrafterWatch is the cutting edge answer to those threats, allowing your child to get the most out of Minecraft while giving you the peace of mind that you’re protecting his or her well-being.
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Husband and Father
Co-Founder of CrafterWatch
Make Minecraft Safe Again
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