Question: My son has been absolutely addicted to Minecraft for some time - playing it for hours at a time. Most of his friends share this addiction. Why is this game so popular? What are the positives and negatives of playing this game?

Answer: There is no question that Minecraft is extremely popular with children. It may be because it is an extension of things that children like to do: watch television and play computer games and play with LEGOs.

Fortunately, there are a number of positives from playing this game. Video games like Minecraft can enhance problem-solving skills. You have probably also observed how intently he focuses on the game - building attention skills that are so important in school. Another positive is all the planning that must be done to build projects successfully.

Of course, there are negatives to devoting so much time to Minecraft. It can take away from valuable social activities, play and exercise time. Many educators believe that limiting play to an hour a day is probably a reasonable amount of time in the summer.