What parents need to know about Minecraft

Giving players the freedom to craft entire worlds from an interactive landscape, Minecraft has been described as the ultimate sandbox game (that is, it eschews the usual pre-determined goals or objectives in favour of creativity and exploration). With enthralling gameplay that encourages inventiveness and problem solving, it’s been a runaway critical and commercial success.

Every Eden has its serpents, however – even virtual ones. Minecraft is no exception. Although the game itself is mostly child friendly and conflict free, some hazards persist that could upset younger users, including disruptive rival players, contact from strangers and the occasional in-game scare. Our #WakeUpWednesday guide digs a little deeper into Minecraft.

Though it became a colossal hit purely on entertainment value (one in five boys in the UK, for example, name Minecraft as their favourite game), Minecraft also packs some educational credibility. It’s on the curriculum at some schools in mainland Europe, in fact: as well as coding skills, it’s used to teach young people about town planning and environmental issues. Though hugely popular with children, the average age of Minecraft players is actually 24. This raises the possibility, of course, of other players using explicit language or behaving in ways that young ones ought not to witness. NOS’ updated #WakeUpWednesday guide to Minecraft breaks down potential issues in the game that trusted adults need to be aware of.