Why I Don't Limit My Daughter's Minecraft Time

Oct 29, 2014

Find out why a mom who has led her children through a screen-free lifestyle would choose not to limit time on Minecraft. #minecraft www.heartofmichelle.com

It may surprise you to read this, but I don't set limits on my daughter's Minecraft time.

If you know me or have been reading this blog long enough, you know that I'm not big on screens. Each year, our family participates in Screen-Free Week and I've even written a series of posts called Screen-Free Family Activities.

We didn't have television in my home (no service anyway) for many years. My youngest two, who are now 16 and 11, didn't have T.V. until they were 14 and 9.

So why would a mom who has led a pretty Screen-Free lifestyle not set limits on Minecraft?

Why I Don't Limit My Daughter's Minecraft Time

First, let's discuss the racing thoughts of bipolar disorder.

People with bipolar disorder experience racing thoughts. I recall Scotty referring to racing thoughts quite often. In 2010, shortly before he died, I asked Scotty what they were because my son had mentioned them, too. He attempted to explain, but I still didn't understand. 

It sounded like he was describing insomnia. It is not insomnia. 

Granted, the thoughts themselves often prevent a person with bipolar disorder from sleeping, but the thoughts themselves are not insomnia.

Racing thoughts are a lot of snippets of music, conversations and negative thoughts looping, one over the other, for hours on end. These racing thoughts don't happen 24/7, but when they do occur, the person feels as though they're going mad.

Activities help distract from the racing thoughts.

It makes sense that all that noise would keep a person awake at night. It also makes sense that it could drive a person crazy to not be able to shut the sounds off.

People with bipolar disorder can distract themselves from the noise at times. There are healthy and unhealthy ways to do this. One person told me he stays in bad relationships because, although he hates the misery of the situation, the constant fighting drowns out the noise. 

That's obviously an unhealthy way to deal with it.

My child drowns out the noise with gaming. Let me make it clear: it's not an addiction. She's not hooked on gaming. In fact, there have been times when she has been upset about how much time she spent on the computer. 

But when I suggest doing something else, the response is something like this:

"I can't! You don't understand! If I'm not on the game my brain won't shut up. It just goes on and on and never gets quiet! Even though I hate wasting my life on that game, it's the only way to not go crazy!"

And there you have it. My biggest reason for allowing her to keep playing on the game: it keeps her from feeling like she's going mad.

Do I let her stay on the game all the time, to the exclusion of all else?

I don't want my child to be addicted to gaming any more than I'd want her addicted to sugar or television. I try to occupy nearly every minute of her day with something: homeschool lessons, the playground, getting together with friends, arts and crafts, reading together, or playing board games.

I try to keep her mind busy.

Let's be realistic, though. 

  • I have to work. 
  • I have to clean my house. 
  • I have to make meals. 
  • I have another child suffering with the same disorder. 

There are times when I can't be her sole entertainment and chauffeur.

At those times, she plays on Minecraft. She plays on Skrafty or her brother's Minecraft server, both of which are safe places. We know the players. This is what she does while I take care of mommy business.

For the most part, these aren't long periods of time. Perhaps she's on there while I cook, or maybe a couple of hours while I work. But there are longer times. 
The times when she can't sleep at night, for instance. 

On those nights, she stays up with her brother playing Minecraft. He's with her, so she has him and the game to keep her busy through the night.

I can't control her sleep patterns. All I can do is make her night a safe one by allowing her to do play on the computer. This way, her thoughts don't get the best of her. Her mind isn't allowed to wander off alone, venturing into scary places

What it boils down to is this: Her safety and mental health take priority over screen-time limits.

Also see: What Are Racing Thoughts? 

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Do you set limits on screen-time? Why or why not?

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Happy Parenting!


  1. And Minecraft is creative! My daughters school has an elective for the game. It teaches them about using computers...something they need to know, whether we want to admit it or not, right? Gaming isn't all bad, there is a balance, and you have to do what works for your family. Got2havefaithblog.com

    1. Precisely! With my now grown kids, I never allowed them online for more than 1 hour per day. This, in my opinion, is extenuating. And yes, she's learning skills. On Skrafty servers, she can also take homeschool classes. Add benefit!

  2. My 3 kids absolutely LOVE Minecraft! We have used it many times in our homeschooling!

    1. Yes. I love Skrafty classes. We've not had a lot of time for them lately, but in down times those classes serve us well.

  3. Yeah....the racing thoughts thing used to "Get me" dooped at one time.

    Here is the trick I learned. PRAY about it. Seriously. Pray to Jesus to take it away. Use the mind to pray for others make a list and pray for those people on that list.

    Another trick I learned is to fill our mind with godly or good memorization material. Instead of filling ones mind with worry about govt' take over, hospital bills or something else, try picking up a KJV bible and memorizing psalms and proverbs. That really seems to clear out the "junk" that can get built up in the mind.

    Learning new languages can help too. Try learning a native American language these days. That would really open up a can of worms.

    Lastly I tried this resource www.settingcaptivesfree.com That was a great resource. I was not able to follow through and "go to a church" but instead I just learn to "accept" that there will be people out there who do not like me even if I am interested in non-gregorian calendar or other funny things.....so I don't let my mind worry about it.

    1. Well she's 11. I don't think she's worried about those things and it seems to me, from talking with people who have bipolar, that these are mostly sounds - a loop of a phrase from a conversation, a loop of one line of music, a negative thought they heard - all playing at the same time, one over the other, for hours on end. It's as if someone has turned all these things on and the individual hearing them can't turn them off.

  4. My son did Youth Digital Mod Design to design his own mindcraft world. He was so obsessed with it. This was another way to keep his mind off things and he learned java.(you can get it cheaper on homebuyers co-op)


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