Minecraft does not require the internet to play; it is possible to play the game entirely offline, which takes away the risk of strangers or bots communicating with your child – which means that you do not have to worry about them while they are in-game. However, if they want to interact with other players or if they want to play with friends, it will require them to use a server. These can sometimes be unmanned, or open to everyone with a large player base and it can be difficult to ensure that everyone in there is safe for your child – so it’s important to find a good, well-maintained or family friendly server. (The Sandlot is one near and dear to our hearts!
If your child is serious about the game, and you feel it is a good investment that is aiding their development, it is very easy to set up your own server. Doing this allows you to directly control who joins, remove people, and set the game mode for your child. There are dedicated companies that offer Minecraft server hosting available as well (MCProHosting is currently our best-reviewed server host!), which means you do not need to have the knowledge already and you can skip straight to developing and building with your child.
Having a communal place online means that the child can play with others with the same aims and it can help them further than if they were playing alone by developing other skills, including team-building and learning the ability to compromise. These are skills that a child who plays alone would not necessarily develop and they can be very helpful later on in life as the child grows older.