Stuart Duncan has made a splash in the gaming world with his Minecraft server, Autcraft, a server dedicated to hosting players who have autism-particularly children.
The internet has provided people with access to information, ideas and relationships that they might have never been introduced to without it. Connecting people to each other in this easy and super convenient way has created what is known as the “information age,” wherein every question you’d like to know the answer to can be directed at Google and your answer given after just a few keystrokes. Relationships with friends and family remain stronger despite distances when the internet acts as a go-between for those who are far apart. All of these things are wonderful advancements that bring people closer to each other as well as to data about the world around us.
But sometimes, the internet isn’t a very pleasant place.
Online bullying has made headlines throughout the internet-accessible world for some time now, and one father has created a safe haven for autistic children to get away from the damaging words hurled their way by digital bullies. Stuart Duncan is also known by the username AutismFather, and his Minecraft server Autcraft has been host to over 8,000 players.
“These parents were all reaching out because they were tired of seeing their children being bullied on the servers that they tried. Their children were breaking their keyboards, crying and feeling terrible. They felt powerless to help. So, Autcraft was my way of helping,” he said when asked about why he had created this unique gaming server.
Gaming is supposed to be a way to have fun and enjoy yourself while cooperating with friends to achieve an in-game goal. But when bullies and “trolls” make it their mission to make people feel badly about themselves, it stops being fun and games and can put kids off of these experiences entirely. Some children might be severely impacted by the harsh words of strangers online.
Duncan is dedicated to keeping the server free for all of those who might want to use it, but is currently accepting donations on Patreon to help fund the costs of running and maintaining Autcraft. The innovative father says of his ambitions behind Autcraft, “It’s not about getting other people to accept them but getting them to accept themselves.”