Minecraft: a parent’s guide Tips and advice for keeping children safe on Minecraft

O2 NSPCC online safety helpline

We’re used to talking to parents about Minecraft at the O2 & NSPCC Online Safety Helpline.

So if you don’t know your creepers from your grief­ers, that’s okay. We’re here to help you keep children safe from the risks they might face.


The villains. Griefers are human players that intentionally set out to destroy or steal things that other players have built or collected. Griefers can act individually or as a team, entering public multi-player servers with the aim of wreaking as much havoc as possible.


Creepers are characters that exist within the game but aren’t controlled by other players. No less annoying than the ‘Griefer’, their only objective is to cause as much destruction as possible. They do this by exploding next to players and damaging anything nearby.


The dark underworld of the game. Players can build and enter a portal to the Nether. There are some darker elements and it isn’t suitable for young players, as it’s filled with more dangerous characters and hazards.


Like an invite list to your child’s birthday party, a Whitelist lets moderators create a community that only includes people who have been verified to join. It won’t remove the risk, but can reduce the chance of bumping into someone who may spoil the fun.

Minecraft: the risks and staying safe

Children told us that their top concerns when playing Minecraft are:

    • bullying
    • talking to strangers
    • hacking
    • downloading viruses.

They may also come across inappropriate content like violent or sexual language and images.

To help keep children safe on Minecraft, make sure:

    • you know where they’re playing
    • they’re using appropriate safety settings
    • you talk to them about what to do if they see anything upsetting.


Top tips for staying safe

In the multiplayer mode of Minecraft children can chat with people they meet. But there’s no way of knowing who they are. So turning off the chat function can help make sure younger children don’t talk to strangers.

To do this:

    • click ‘options’
    • select multiplayer settings
    • click on chat
    • choose shown, hidden or commands only.

A server is a single world or place in the game. There are lots of child-friendly servers that have been set up to help families and children to play Minecraft safely. They have strict rules on language and behaviour and are often moderated by parents. You can find safe servers by searching online, but if you’re still not sure you can call the O2 & NSPCC Online Safety Helpline on 0808 8005002  for more advice. 

Viruses and malware may be downloaded by buying illegal versions of Minecraft or additional ‘mods’ (add-ons that change the content or gameplay of Minecraft).

Always make sure that you only download Minecraft from the official website. And ask your children to tell you before downloading anything new.

Children often find Minecraft so much fun that they lose track of time. There’s no end to the game, so talk openly about setting weekly and daily time limits as part of your family agreement. You could also ask them to show you their Minecraft world.

How Minecraft works

Different modes

In Minecraft, when you start a new game there are 3 main modes: Creative, Adventure and Survival.

Players can do anything, monsters can’t attack them and it’s impossible for your character to die. This is the safest mode and is great for younger players to get used to the game before they move on to the other levels.

Players can’t break any blocks, but can kill monsters and animals, or be killed by monsters.

Players must survive against monsters and hunger. But the monsters can be turned off by pressing escape, going into settings and turning the difficulty to ‘peaceful’.

Singleplayer vs Multiplayer 

Minecraft has 2 main player options:

Single player:
No one can join the player’s game and no one can contact you through the Minecraft chat.

Players can join any game they want, public or private. Players can also see, speak and interact with others, whether they are friends or strangers. Children can play together with friends in the same location or room if they are all sharing the same internet connection (LAN).

Download our NetAware app

NetAware is our simple guide for parents to the most popular social networks, apps and games that children use. 

You can easily find age ratings, parent and child reviews and how likely it is that a child could find inappropriate content. 

Download the app today, so you'll always have help keeping children safe online wherever you go. 

For Android devices

Untangle the web using the NetAware app for Android phones.  

For Apple devices

Stay on top of the latest apps and sites children use by downloading NetAware for iOS devices.