Although Minecraft is a relatively simple game, Minecraft is difficult to describe to someone who has never played. At its core, Minecraft is about breaking and moving cubes to gain different items and using those items to survive and build. However, this description does not allude to the complexity of the game which is primarily limited only by your imagination. The best way to describe the game might be to list some things you can do with it:
There are several different ways to play Minecraft. There is single player mode for those who want to build and explore by themselves, as well as several different kinds multiplayer for those who would like to experience the game with their friends. There is also survival mode for those who want a challenge and a creative mode for those who want to build without restrictions. In Minecraft, survival mode is a little bit violent, but the intensity can be chosen by the user so you can set limits. Other than that there is no real objectionable content in the game. The most contentious aspect of Minecraft is, without question, servers (a server is a place where Minecraft players can play the game together from the comfort of their own homes). Servers can be fun but they are accompanied by risks. Those risks stem from the fact that the some servers are not operated by Mojang (the creators of Minecraft), but instead are created and operated by users. Many of them have unmoderated text based communication. As such the safety of a server must be assessed on a case by case basis if you feel that your child is not mature enough to choose servers responsibly and cope with any misbehavior by other players. If your child wishes to explore collaborative play, there are several different options:
Another contentious aspect of the game is modding. Mods are modifications to Minecraft that change the game in some way. Mods are, for the most part, relatively safe, in terms of content. The big risk for mods is computer viruses. This risk can be mitigated by scanning the file multiple times with different antivirus programs. You should check the reviews of a mod before you download it because a poorly made mod may render Minecraft incompatible. Look for well-known developers with lots of good reviews. It’s even better if the mod is sanctioned by Mojang. For an extra layer of protection, your child can probably confirm with friends who use the mod that they have not had any problems with it. In addition, one should not install multiple mods at once unless it is explicitly stated that the two are compatible. Otherwise the game will may cease to function. Mods are not something I would recommend unless you, or someone helping to install the mod, are very computer literate. If your child becomes an advanced user, they can even learn to code by developing their own mod.