Bullies are lame. No one knows this better than a parent that has had to console a child dealing with a bully, in real life or online. The situation is perhaps even more distressing if that child is on the autism spectrum and seeking refuge from a stressful outer world in an online one like Minecraft.
This was the concern that motivated blogger, web developer, and father Stuart Duncan to create the private Minecraft server Autcraft. The server is just for AS (autism spectrum) players (and their families) to feel safe to play sans bullies and trolls. After it came to Duncan’s attention through his blog (Autism From A Father’s Point of View) that the popular sandbox game was attracting autistic kids but that they were being bullied, he knew he had to do something.
Little did Duncan know that in a short time his small private server would grow to nearly 7000 members, including kids and their parents, as well as a second teen server; all looking for a place to play and socialize in Minecraft.
Even more intriguing, University of California PhD student, Kate Ringland, has spent countless hours interviewing these parents and kids and observing the server in hopes to maybe use that research in the future to help children and adults on the autism spectrum.
On her website, Ringland writes;
Minecraft serves as a bridge or means of entry for members of this community. The game plays a key role, coupled with other forms of social media, in supporting children who are particularly known to struggle with finding social support.
In a quote from his blog, I feel like Duncan says it best;
Autistics want the same things as anyone else such as independence, equality, acceptance and bacon.
Truly, a man after my own heart.
You can find links to Duncan’s blog and Autcraft here:
Autism From A Father’s Point of View- http://www.stuartduncan.name/
Also, if you’re a die hard fan of Minecraft, check out this bit of awesome covering the games arrival on Gear VR- Minecraft Gets Virtual With VR