Parent.co recently published a first-person account of one mom’s experience discovering the existence of sex mods for Minecraft. To date, the post has been shared over 129,000 times.
Nowhere in the piece did the writer, Amy Betters-Midtvedt, claim that sex mods were created or made available by Mojang, the company that produces the wildly popular video game.
Far from calling out Mojang or intending to discredit the many purported benefits of Minecraft, the point of Amy’s piece was simply to spell out the changes she made in her own home regarding her kids and the use of technology. What was meant to be a simple story about learning to pay more attention became an opportunity for some people to level unkind and baseless accusations against the writer.
Not all of the responses were negative. Many parents expressed their gratitude at being made aware of the existence of sex mods and for the reminder that, as Amy says, kids and tech is not a “set it and forget it” situation.
As the editor who chose and published the piece, I felt it was appropriate that Amy be given a chance to tell the rest of her story.
Parent Co: My sense of the negative responses to your piece was that people were passionately defending Minecraft. They thought that your piece was attacking Minecraft. What’s been interesting to me is how many people missed the point.
Your point was not “Minecraft is awful. Your kids should stop playing it.” You were saying, “Hey, this happened to me. It changed the way things were done in my house.” People didn’t even get to that part.
Amy: I think some people didn’t read beyond the Minecraft part of the story. The funniest part was while I was sitting down reading the comments, several of which said something like, “Shame on you for ruining Minecraft,” and, “You’re banning your kids from the joy,” my five-year-old was sitting next to me playing Minecraft.
One of the main points of criticism was to say, “You have to do so much work to find a sex mod in Minecraft.” Can you explain how your daughter encountered the sex mod.
What she actually saw was – in a kid room, a kid world – a secret room with a bed in it. And there was a Minecraft character that was crouching down over and over and then trying to go by her character and kept putting its head up. And then in the chat (the other player) was asking her, “Will you have sex with me? Sex is this…” And then she told me, “Words with body parts, Mom. Telling me what you do when you have sex.”
In order to be able to say the word “sex” without alerting the censors in a kid-friendly world the person chatting with my daughter put a colon or a space in between the letters. My kids said this is common if someone is being “inappropriate.”
In addition to that, my kids do watch a lot of Minecraft videos. Then it all came rushing out, after that happened. “And Mom, I’ve seen videos and I found this and it’s all about the sex mod.” It was all jumbled together.
Honestly, the technicalities of what the (critics are) saying, I’m sure are right. But that’s not the point – whether she was seeing that exact mod or if she was seeing someone act something out that was like a mod. To me it wasn’t even about Minecraft.
To respond to some of the criticism that I should have done more research, well, had I been writing a researched article about how Minecraft works and the technicalities of that so we all know how to keep our kids safe, that would be a different story.
This was really just my experience that my kid had and if it could happen to me it could happen to you. I wish I had read about it some place so I would have at least known. Because it is so simple – my son told me how you turn off the chat. If the chat had been off, no one could have talked to her. So she would have seen this weird crouching thing happen, and she could have just moved on.
I think it was the combination of those two things that she saw, as well as the things she had encountered online that she hadn’t told us about. Not only in Minecraft, but in other different chat videos – some of those are very risqué.
It’s that piece of it that really was the spirit (of the post) and I feel badly that it was lost because I maybe didn’t use some of the terminology correctly.
It’s true. People are certainly parsing your words. But you never mention Mojang, the maker of Minecraft. You never say that sex mods are an official part of the game.
I never blamed them. The blame was completely on me. I don’t expect (Mojang) to keep my kids safe. I don’t think that’s the job of any outside entity or company or person. That’s my job. I get why that’s happening.
What I tried to say later on in the article (but I don’t think anyone ever got to) is that I’ve become closer with my kids because I’m taking an interest in something they love. I’m learning about it, but they don’t care about that part. They’re so excited I know now what a mod is!
You’re able to relate to them on that level.
Exactly. Which is a wonderful thing about technology and a wonderful part of Minecraft and all these other games that we like to play together at home.
The point is to do your homework. This happened to me. You might want to take a look. If you choose to shut all devices down at your house, or if you choose to let your kids keep playing, either is great. But it’s your choice. It shouldn’t be for me to say what you should do for your kids. You should always go look for more information, always question what you see, no matter who’s writing it.
In that vein, I’m wondering what has been the most surprising result of writing this piece?
I always thought I had a pretty thick skin… I was so surprised by how hurtful the comments were and how they got to me so quickly. It’s impossible not to have that human reaction. Even though these are people I’ve never met, it felt like a crushing blow to me. That initial reaction of feeling like I had to defend myself. I was up at 1:30 in the morning feeling like I had to respond to all these people. It was a very visceral reaction.
(Also) the shock that someone’s response is to immediately go to, “You’re a complete, horrible liar. Nobody should believe a word you say ever about anything,” instead of, “I think maybe you used the word ‘mod’ wrong here.”
Why is that not your response? That was shocking to me. How many people’s first response was to think, “You’re an absolute, horrible, terrible person.” What a crazy default option that is.
Well, it’s quite an accomplishment, in a sense – to write something that strikes this kind of nerve. I know it wasn’t all fun and you were on the receiving end of some unnecessarily accusatory and nasty comments, but you did something that not a lot of people do. You wrote something that hundreds of thousands of people read. Of those hundreds of thousands, I think most of them were positively impacted by what you wrote.
That’s my hope. If a few people start checking in with their kids or have that conversation, then I feel like that’s awesome.