This is a plea to the Minecraft community from the autism community for help on April 2nd.

Creeper On your Dessssssktop 2 by BrotherPrime

Creeper On your Dessssssktop 2
by BrotherPrime

This is a plea to the Minecraft Community from myself and the Autism Community, whether you are with Mojang, or you create videos for Youtube, do live streams or just play on servers with other people, I beg you for just a moment of your time.

Recent studies show that children with autism are 4 times more likely to be bullied than anyone else. And although research can’t ever rate such a thing, I can assure you that the severity of the bullying is far worse as well. These studies are done in schools and playgrounds. But if I were to guess, I’d imagine these numbers to be far, far worse in the Minecraft Community.

I started my server for children with autism less than 9 months ago and in that time, I watched our whitelist skyrocket to over 3600 people. Each of them with the same story… they were bullied on every server they went to.

Just last night, a new player said ‘this is the only server i have found without being judged for being “different”‘.

This is just not ok.

I am a grown man with 2 children of my own. I can’t remember the last time I cried. Maybe when I was 6? But I can honestly tell you, with no shame, that I couldn’t help but cry last night as I had received the 2nd email in less than a week as 2 separate children were reaching out to me because they had a knife in their hand and they were done. They’re hurting themselves, their parents can’t help them, they’re bullied and beaten every single day, they have no friends and they can’t take it anymore. They seek solice with the game they love but on every server they try, they find more of the same. They’re griefed repeatedly, killed constantly and people say the absolute worst, most hurtful things they can say to them. Sometimes it’s even from the server admins.

Each of their messages to me finish the same… “I feel like you’re the only one I can talk to AF”.

Something in me broke. I couldn’t hold it back anymore. It really hurt and I cried.

If I was to average it out, I’d say that I’ve received a message from a different child at least once every week since starting the server 9 months ago. Just 1 child, emailing a server owner, reaching out because they can’t take the abuse anymore, is too many. But once a week for 9 months?

It shouldn’t be like this. We have to do better.

So on April 2nd, Autism Awareness Day, I’m asking… no, I’m begging, the Minecraft Community to stand up with the Autism Community and declare that it’s time to put an end to bullying. Bullying of autistics, bullying of anyone that’s different and bullying in general.

Proclaim it in your livestreams, in your videos, in your blogs, press releases and even on the servers that you go to that bullying is wrong.

And if you see someone being bullied, speak up. Don’t be afraid. You tell them that bullying doesn’t belong here and it’s not going to be tolerated anymore.

Please, I can’t do this on my own anymore. I will always be here for these kids when they need me but they shouldn’t have to need me. They shouldn’t have to come to my server to find someplace safe to play. They shouldn’t have to feel so scared.

The Minecraft community is incredible. I know it, I’ve seen it. I love being a part of it. But we can do better.

Please, as the owner of a server that I wish had never been successful in the first place, that I wish had never been needed to be created in the first place, as a fellow Minecraft player, as a father, as an autistic myself, as the father of an autistic child and as a friend… please help me.

If just one person is bullied just one time less than they would have been before, sure, it might not change the world but it’s a start. It means everything.

Please help. On April 2nd, let’s do better.

On Autism Awareness Day, let’s do more than just raise awareness.

Stuart Duncan (aka AutismFather)
Owner of Autcraft

About Stuart Duncan

My name is Stuart Duncan, creator of http://www.stuartduncan.name. My oldest son (Cameron) has Autism while my younger son (Tyler) does not. I am a work from home web developer with a background in radio. I do my very best to stay educated and do what ever is necessary to ensure my children have the tools they need to thrive. I share my stories and experiences in an effort to further grow and strengthen the online Autism community and to promote Autism Understanding and Acceptance.

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33 Responses to This is a plea to the Minecraft community from the autism community for help on April 2nd.

  1. Jwnewall March 19, 2014 at 3:39 pm #

    I will be on your side, no matter my age, I will be there for you.

    Your JrHelper Jwne

    • youngcast March 29, 2014 at 7:50 pm #

      just listened to this with a converter and i cant belive this is happening to our children around the world. Best of luck for our community to grow and shine like a diamond.

      ~Aka JD!~ I didnt know what 2 say xD

  2. Meri the LapisDemon March 19, 2014 at 3:46 pm #

    Dear Stuart,

    it really should be a general “don’t bully anyone because he/she is different” attitude amongst humans.

    I already told you about some of my plans to thematize this since a long time, as I dislike people being judged and categorized ever since, and I know from my own experience how it feels like, and also from other people that are “outsiders”.

    Furthermore, I do have some additional plans I didn’t share yet, that need preparation. So please hang in there, some things just need time.

    I’ll assure you again I’ll do my best to reach out to everyone for overcoming prejudices and alikes, which will include, but of course not be limited to people of the – how I call them – AaA-community (Asperger and Autism).

    Having Aspergers myself, being in contact with so many people from the AaA-community, this is very close to my own heart.

    An Autism Awareness Day is nice, but I prefer to not leave it at just one day in the year, just like Valentine’s Day. If you love someone, show it the whole year, with a little gesture. If you want to change people’s mind and prejudices, make them aware of it not only one single day in the year.

    It’s a long way to go, because prejudices and the need for the crowd to gang up against “Frankenstein’s monster” is deeply imprinted into our genes.

    But, again:
    I’ll do what I can.

    Kind regards,
    Meri

  3. Finn morrison March 19, 2014 at 4:58 pm #

    Af
    Lets do this
    murray_464

  4. Elizabeth March 19, 2014 at 5:20 pm #

    Shared and shared and shared my friend. Thanks again for all you do.

  5. BrianAnshen March 19, 2014 at 8:07 pm #

    I Brian Anshen (username: Trainmaster909), as a minecraft pro and server operator, agree that bullying in the minecraft community is definitely a major issue. In my several years playing minecraft I have been both a witness and a victim of bullying in minecraft. This bullying can be defined as one of two technical terms: Griefing and Trolling. Griefing is when one player destroys another player’s creations or property (usually accomplished by pouring lava, lighting the house on fire, or blowing the house up with TNT). Trolling is done by when one player kills or robs another player. Operating on my server it is my job to ban griefers and trolls from my server to make a better gameplay experience for the members. However, you are wrong as an autistic community to say that it is 4 times more likely for an autistic kid to get bullied in minecraft than a normal kid. That is far from true. The fact is that people do not bully kids in minecraft because they are autistic, they would not ever know the kid is autistic or not. I understand where you are coming from, but don’t act as if it is the autistic kids having the problem. Everybody is!
    On the other hand. I do think minecraft bullying is a problem, but there is nothing you, Notch, Jeb, Grumm, or Dinnerbone, or anyone can do about it. I wish your server best of luck!
    Sincerely, Trainmaster909

    Go to YouTube.com/trainmaster909doesmc

    • Stuart Duncan March 19, 2014 at 10:21 pm #

      When I say that autistic children are 4 times more likely to be bullied, this is backed up by research and written about in many places including:
      http://well.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/09/03/school-bullies-prey-on-children-with-autism/?_php=true&_type=blogs&_r=0
      http://www.manchester.ac.uk/aboutus/news/display/?id=10499
      http://healthland.time.com/2012/09/05/why-autistic-kids-make-easy-targets-for-school-bullies/

      But you are correct. They are not bullied because they are autistic as no one would really know they are unless they just came out and said “hey, I have autism.” Although I feel that doing so would indeed make them an instant target.

      Autistics are targeted more so than most others because of how they are different. Each autistic being different, it’s impossible to say that each would do one specific thing to make themselves a target however most do lack certain social awareness and understanding to navigate a server setting as most others would.

      Missing sarcasm, innuendo, irony, metaphors and other such subtleties for instance. Or they may find them catching an error in someone’s statement and correcting it but not just correcting it, obsessing over it and explaining in detail it’s inaccuracies. Or raging beyond what many would consider “a normal amount” of anger over something that was done to them. I could go on and on and on to be honest.

      These are some of the more extreme cases and while some of them may make you think “well, I can understand how that would make them a target”, it still does not make it right. But the truth is that sometimes it’s much more trivial than that. Sometimes it’s a very minor thing such as using language in a bit more of a classical manner, or perhaps it’s showing fondness for things that most others would consider strange or “not cool”… it doesn’t really matter what but that it’s “different.” And in life, especially internet life, it only takes a grain of “different” to make yourself a target for bullies.

      For many people, it’s this “being a little bit different” that makes them a target but for autistics… “being a little bit different” pretty much defines us. And being bullied because of it is not fair. Not when being different is something that we should be striving for… not being beaten down for.

  6. MegaCarlos March 20, 2014 at 12:58 am #

    What really got me was the knife in the hand part. I never want to hear/see anyone even thinking of suicide. That is why I want to help. I will be streaming on April 2 to support you and try to end this bullying in Minecraft.

    If you would like to see my stream on Apr 2 :: http://www.twitch.tv/megacarlos510

  7. EmperorFisto March 21, 2014 at 2:01 pm #

    I read this, and I immediately thought, I have to get this out to other people. People that can make a difference, like some of the Mindcrack guys. I will make sure that this gets out to more people

  8. Lori Pollard March 21, 2014 at 9:08 pm #

    This is so touching. My aspie and my allistic sons both play minecraft, as do their friends. My autistic son is not able to, but loves watching them. I have an autism blog, an autism webpage and other connections. My boys will spread the word in their groups, and I will spread it in mine! This is an incredible, and timely idea, thank you so much for creating autcraft, and for this “event”. Days of Whine and Rosé is behind you 100percent!

  9. Tara Shade March 22, 2014 at 12:18 pm #

    Wow. I will support and promote this. I will share your article on my personal page and my blog page Autism Pirate. I have kids who play this and I pledge to monitor things more closely from now on.

  10. DaJelloKing March 28, 2014 at 12:29 am #

    I will be posting a video on my channel about this.
    I will also share this article with my other youtuber friends.

  11. Clayton (Adrilidexus) March 28, 2014 at 1:33 am #

    Our server is set up for mature minded players willing to debate and bond over interests regardless of ages, and my two co-admins who helped me found the site are autistic with me showing mild tendencies of OCD and Aspergers. Nonetheless, we are definitely in support of what you wish, and I’m decorating our spawn to be all blue. No one should be bullied. No one at all…I’m a victim of it, and the scars show. And it hurts. I go to bed a lot wondering why I even exist still, because I’ve lost so much hope and desire.

    We can stop bullying though. I’m sure of it. We just have to unite as a brotherhood of crafters, all 20 million of us..

  12. Walt__Disney March 28, 2014 at 8:23 am #

    I run the MCMagic servers. We’re a recreation of Walt Disney World in Minecraft, complete with rides. We also incorporate a ‘Creative’ server for kids and families to create. We were a featured Panel at Minecon 2013, too. We’re a safe-haven from bullying & swearing, and have ‘hired’ children and adults with varying levels of Autism, Aspergers, and ADHD with amazing results.

    I was also an assistant at a live-in facility for children with Autism, years ago. I have first-hand knowledge of the effects bullying can have and how these kids just want to be accepted and loved.

    In recent years, we’ve had many children, with differing levels of Autism, Aspergers, and ADHD, join our servers and all with the same result: They come back over and over with some becoming trusted volunteers.

    However, as you stated, this community is rife with bullies. Some of these bullies aren’t as obvious. They play with the children’s emotions and lure them on to other servers where the rules aren’t the same. This has a devastating effect. All the tools we give them to work with others, be treated fairly, etc are lost and they revert to their former selves with outward behaviors, once again. I, and my staff of around 100, make sure this doesn’t happen.

    I have filters on my server for swearing and spamming, I have Cast Member volunteers who watch chat for personal information and bullying, and we welcome all children and families with open arms without judgment, giving them a safe place to have fun. I also provide ways for the children to interact that do not allow them to share their real names, even in a social setting. We have a voice server, called Mumble, which offers them a way to speak to each other using their Minecraft name and many Cast Member volunteers to keep them safe and answer their questions.

    Minecraft has an element of “XBOX Syndrome” – where kids think their anonymity gives them license to be jerks. (It used to be the same way on YouTube, until Google smartly incorporated GooglePlus.) Add to that the ‘survival’ aspect of the game with fighting, death, & theft…and you can see how it can get out of hand.

    Our servers offer no survival games, no deaths, & no stealing on my servers. I feel like we’re the only ones like that in the community. It’s daunting, but it can work.

    Bottom line: Maybe we need more servers like this and less with the Survival aspect. Life skills are not taught by using creepers and zombies. They’re taught by interaction. If a child with Autism is only interacting with fantasy creatures, death, and bullies…how will they grow?

    Count MCMagic as being “IN” for April 2nd…and every day after.

    Sincerely,

    David Wasman

  13. Edinsacto March 28, 2014 at 9:44 am #

    As a mom who has a son who plays minecraft, could you please offer background of the issue (specifics) and how to check for it? I try keeping an eye on the games he plays, but I don’t fully understand it nor how the interaction/bullying takes place. It’s hard to regulate what happens “on the playground” and to balance not being helicopter mom in real life. Any tips/practical advice/specific examples about the issue and guidance on how to do it “on the virtual playground” would be helpful and maybe something that could be shared more broadly to encourage others how to practically do the same.

    • Walt__Disney March 28, 2014 at 9:49 am #

      The best way to know is to buy an account and play with your child. Believe me, this is more than a kid’s game.

    • Stuart Duncan March 28, 2014 at 10:02 am #

      As Walt__Disney said, join in and get involved. Otherwise you may never know.

      We’ve had some children on our server that were bullied and treated terribly and hated every second of it until they found us. They were so grateful and finally happy. Then, as they became more comfortable, they’d fall back on those “learned behaviors” and start bullying other kids on the server. It wasn’t that they wanted to be a bully, they were just doing what they thought they were supposed to do. It’s the only behavior they’ve seen and even though they despised it, it’s the only way they knew.

      Once I informed their parents, they were shocked. They had no idea that their children were bullied that much and they certainly could never have dreamed their own children would become the bullies, especially since, away from the computer, they were very kind and gentle.

      Unfortunately, unless you join them and be an active participant in what they’re doing, you just simply may not really know.

      Bullying affects a child far more than just making them cry. And this is why we need to be more aware of just how bad it really is.

  14. Lori Pollard March 28, 2014 at 10:08 am #

    I will be writing a blog article on this subject and citing your post and your initiative. I have even caught my eldest son, 24, very high functioning Aspie, doing the bullying himself. He felt it was ok, because he’d been bullied all his life, so it was ok for him to do it back. He “gets it” now, but it really made me wonder how many cyber bullies are actually venting what is happening to them in real life in the anonymous world of on-line gaming. The awareness needs to get out there, awareness of just what this behaviour does. Thank you for all you are doing on this subject!

  15. Zaephyn(Youtube) March 28, 2014 at 2:41 pm #

    I am going to be doing a livestream on the day at 8pm GMT and releasing a short video covering the matter. I am happy to help out in any way. :)

  16. Kaioko March 28, 2014 at 3:40 pm #

    Sharing this. We also have a no bullying Minecraft server, and it will always be that way. I’m glad there are more out there. :)

  17. EmpathyHeals March 28, 2014 at 5:40 pm #

    Wonderful post and as a new Minecraft server owner I can totally relate to the stories of newbies who come in from other servers and sharing downright traumatic stories of bullying and abuse. As an owner I don’t stand for this kind of behavior on my server, so I just wanted you to know that although I’m not running a server for autistic kids exclusively, you are not alone in your efforts to promote a kind and compassionate server culture. I named my server Empathy because this value is my server’s foundation. It breaks my heart to hear so many horrible stories from so many people who come to my server dejected. Thank you so much for your post and the awareness you are raising; we really need more positive, encouraging, and strengths-oriented Minecraft communities!

  18. CupCode Gamers (@CupCodeGamers) March 28, 2014 at 6:03 pm #

    CupCode Gamers are with you on this. We don’t tolerate bullying of any sort on our server, even though it is a PVP server.

  19. Joe March 29, 2014 at 1:02 pm #

    I will stream. You have inspired me to do this and to try to stop people from bullying others.

    • Joe March 29, 2014 at 1:03 pm #

      Twitch.tv/jdm2019

  20. Austin Kirby March 31, 2014 at 9:03 pm #

    I’ve made my video and I’m ready to share it with my fans. Thank you for this article, I have multiple family members who have autism, a few of which play Minecraft and do get bullied. It breaks my heart to see them get bullied. As for what I do, well, that’s why I’m on my path towards a degree in Special Education. Once again, thank you for this article and all that you do to help these kids.

  21. Jervis April 2, 2014 at 11:03 pm #

    I have a server that I am helping a neice with a bullying problem as well, and I am willing to help out anyone I can, since I was a “saved soul” from bullying when I was a kid (i’m in my 40′s). I started the server around christmas time, and only has a few people on it. I have no idea where to post the address, because of the chance of getting the “not so friendly” users? If I can help you in any way, or vice versa, feel free to contact me. I also have an online radio station if that helps. I’ll play any announcement you got, or I can make one for ya.

    Jervis

  22. Whiffybarrell April 6, 2014 at 10:53 pm #

    How would they poeple now they r autistic

  23. Hope April 28, 2014 at 7:15 am #

    My son is Autistic, however I am not a “gamer” how do I find this server? he plays on X-box, can someone please tell me how to get him on this server. It breaks my heart when I hear the kids in this game bulling him.

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