BALLSTON SPA-Bullying is something that most parents will have to face at one point or another in their child’s life. When it happened to Mark Cheverton’s 10 year old son, he decided to cleverly put it into a children’s book, almost hidden in the world of “Minecraft”.
Cheverton’s Book “Invasion of the Overworld: A Minecraft Novel,” is a direct response to his son, a 5th grade Ballston Spa Central School District student, falling victim to cyber-bullying. Cheverton said he wanted to take the opportunity to turn the situation around by having his son view himself as a possible hero in the situation and not the victim.
Cheverton naturally thought using one of his son’s favorite things was a perfect way to communicate his message, not only to him, but to other middle school aged children as well.
“You see, my son loves Minecraft,” said Cheverton. “He loves the creative outlet that Minecraft offers as well as the ability to play with other kids in this imaginary world.”
“Well, my wife and I decided to get him his own Minecraft server for Christmas, and he was thrilled with it. Now he could build his own universe, and then invite his friends to play on his server and see the fantastic things that he built. He spent months building things, a castle, a huge bridge, a factory, and underwater city, things that he was so proud to show us and his friends,” he continued.
Cheverton also believes the thing that has changed about the world of childhood bullies is that they are taking it to the internet, even possibly coming into a child’s home from miles away, in some cases not even knowing the child.
The family’s incident occurred when some other kids came onto the server. He explains they were able to access the IP address and then proceeded to destroy everything his son had built.
“When my son saw the destruction, he was crushed. And the worse thing was a couple of days later; the video of these boys destroying his creations came up on YouTube. He watched these kids, these bullies, destroy all of his hard works while they were laughing about it. It was terrible,” said Cheverton.
Cheverton said what came after was the toughest part, trying to answer his son’s questions, like who and why would someone do something like this.
“I tried to explain to him, but my answers fell short. I couldn’t put into words why someone would do this, what kind of person they were like, so instead, I used the language the he loved the most. I came up with a story about a cyber-bully that gets pulled into Minecraft and must fight for survival in a real game of life and death,” said Cheverton.
The story shows how the bully learns about the ramifications of his behaviors and the people he’s hurt. He also forms a friendship that teaches him what friendship means. “Gameknight999”, the main character, learns the value and importance of friendship.
The book is aimed for children ages and 10 and up, and is just one that Cheverton has published, reaching #30 on Amazon’s top 100 lists over Christmas. He said the book leaves you with somewhat of a cliffhanger, leaving room for a second book, which he hopes to put out this summer.
Cheverton said the book has resonated with kids of all ages as well as with adults. One of the most gratifying things for Cheverton is that fact that book has helped children around the world. The Amazon feedback pages are filled with comments from parents saying how much of a help the book has been.
“ I’ve been contacted from kids in South America, saying that this was the first English novel they’d ever read, and I’ve been contacted by parents saying thank you thank you thank you for getting my kid off the computer and into a book,” said Cheverton.
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