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The little-known benefits of Minecraft

Could Minecraft be as good for kids as playing ‘house’, or pretending to be their favourite superheroes? Given the controversy over screen time, this is a seemingly bold question – one that researcher Jane Mavoa is exploring.

Based on her research, the University of Melbourne PhD candidate from its School of Computing and Information Systems has ventured that Minecraft indeed contains play elements.

Before discerning this, she and her colleagues interviewed 753 parents, and found that nearly half of three to 12-year-olds play the ‘virtual world-building’ game.

Parents' perceptions of it were mixed. They reported that it fostered curiosity and social skills in their kids. On the flipside, they worried about the amount of time their kids spent playing it, and that it detracted from other activities, like non-screen-based play.

But Mavoa thinks Minecraft might at least deserve more play credit. Education Review asked her to explain what she means by this.

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