Family-Friendly Minecraft Servers Where Your Kid Can Play Safely Online
If your kid has spent some time playing Minecraft on their own — or with other family members on your home network — they will probably reach a point where they’ll want to play with others online.
Playing Minecraft on a public server can take the game to a whole new level. For one thing, there’s a new community of like-minded players to make friends with and collaborate with. This will help your kid learn social skills, such as cooperating, compromising and problem-solving.
In addition, most servers feature huge, prebuilt worlds, with amazing cities and buildings, transport networks, and mini-games for your kid to explore and enjoy.
Finally, most servers extend Minecraft using lots of server plugins, which allow for a whole range of extra gameplay features, including money systems, jobs, role-playing elements and teleports. (You don’t need to modify your Minecraft game to add these features; they’re all handled by the server.)
By now you’re probably thinking: This is all very well, but aren’t public servers a dangerous place for my kid? If they go on a server, how will I know they will be safe from bad language, bullying, or online predators?
Of course, no public server is 100 percent safe, but there are some fantastic Minecraft servers out there that cater especially to kids and families. (That said, if you’d rather set up a completely private server for your kid and their close friends, check out Minecraft Realms.)
In this guide, you’ll discover eleven of the best family-friendly Minecraft servers out there. You’ll also learn a bit more about how Minecraft servers work, and how to connect to these servers and start playing online.
At this point, I should point out that this guide is for the PC/Mac version of Minecraft only. While there are some family-friendly servers for the Pocket Edition and Xbox versions of Minecraft, the vast majority of servers work with the PC/Mac version.
So without further ado, let’s dive into the world of online, family-friendly Minecraft! We’ll start by looking at some important concepts related to public Minecraft servers.
Here are a few key concepts and terms that are worth knowing before you join a public server:
- Servers vs. worlds: Usually, a single public Minecraft server has several worlds that you can jump between. For example, there’s often a main survival world, another creative-mode world, and possibly a third world for mini-games. Usually there’s a central hub or lobby, with warp points that let you teleport between the different worlds.
- PvP and PvE: PvP stands for “player vs. player”, while PvE stands for “player vs. environment”. Most public servers — especially family-friendly ones — are PvE; that is, you battle monsters, not players. However, some servers have special PvP arenas where you can fight other players. (Typically, if you die in a PvP arena, you don’t lose all your stuff, as you would in a regular survival world. It’s just for fun.)
- Spawn: Usually your player will spawn (start) at a set point in the world, usually referred to simply as “spawn”. Typically this is in, or near, a central town or city, or in some sort of lobby area. You can usually type the command
/spawnto return to your spawn point.
- Rules: Nearly all servers have rules as to what you can and cannot do, and — as you’d imagine — family-friendly servers tend to have a big list of strict rules. Make sure you read all the rules thoroughly. (When you first join some servers, they actually force you to walk past lots of signs with the rules on!) If you don’t follow the rules, you can be banned temporarily or even permanently from the server.
- Griefing and grief protection: A big potential problem on public servers is griefing; that is, demolishing other players’ buildings or stealing their stuff. Many — but not all — servers use various plugins to stop griefing. Typically these plugins let you lock your chests, doors and furnaces, and you can also claim a patch of land as your own — this means that nobody else can create or break blocks within your claim. In addition, griefing is always forbidden in the server rules; griefers are warned and then banned, and most server admins can “roll back” your building to the state it was in before it was griefed.
- Text chat: Minecraft has built-in text chat (the ‘T’ key), which is the default way that your kid will communicate with other players. Chat can be public or private (that is, one-to-one). Obviously your kid will need some reading ability to participate in chat, although you can help them if you’re playing online too. Most family-friendly servers employ automatic filtering to prevent swearing in text chat. As with all online chat, make sure you remind your kid never to give out personal details when chatting.
- Voice chat: Some servers link up with voice chat servers such as Mumble, TeamSpeak or Ventrilo to enable players to speak with each other while playing. If you allow your kid to use voice chat then obviously you want to be careful about who they’re talking to, and what they’re talking about!
- Server commands: To get the most out of online playing, you’ll need to give various commands to the server as you play. You give a command by pressing the
/(slash) key, followed by the command name and, sometimes, some extra text. For example,
/sethometypically sets your home point to where you’re currently standing, while
/hometeleports you to your home point. The commands vary from server to server, but you’ll soon get the hang of them.
- Using mods: If you’ve added mods to your Minecraft client, be careful when connecting to servers, since most servers ban at least some mods — particularly those that let you cheat, of course. Usually, mods such as OptiFine — which simply makes your game run more smoothly — are OK.
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