I’m a computer nerd from back in the early 1980s with my Tandy Color Computer 2. 44 now. No kids but always surrounded by nieces and nephews.
I first saw Minecraft in 2011 on a video. For over a year, I avoided the game. I knew it would hook me. I had played no computer games since Doom in ’95, because the first-person-shooter games were all fancier Dooms to me and I had other things to do.
But in 2012, my nephew was 7 years old and intrigued by the game. He had been watching the “Let’s Plays” on Youtube and he wanted his Uncle to help him build a server.
So, I did.
I ran it from July 2012-September 2014, non stop. It took over my laptop: I could hardly do much else on it because the server got popular. I never even gave it a name, just calling it “Ken’s Server”, making it mostly creative (although I had survival and roleplaying parts to it).
All total, approximately 27,000 people of all ages visited this server. I was mostly just the rare “voice from above”, there to settle bullying and abuse when it was pointed out or I saw it and assigned people who were probably kids (but I had no way to know) as admin, because their personalities seemed stable from the chat and their behavior in the game and they did a great job managing what was their likely their peers.
GenZ growing up online faces the same dangers GenX did but socially they at least have an opportunity to connect with like-minded people from around the world. Some for worse but overall much better.