TODAY has been Safer Internet Day, where there’s an increased focus on cybersafety awareness – particularly for younger internet users and gamers.
Minecraft, as anyone with primary school or young teenage children probably knows, is a hugely popular game with the younger demographic and also hugely versatile –
As part of this year’s Safer Internet Day, Xbox have announced they are bringing a cybersafety adventure to Minecraft in the form of Cybersafe: Home Sweet Hmm.
The official Xbox Wire post from Xbox Product Services corporate vice president Dave McCarthy explains it all:
Now more than ever, the Internet is part of our daily lives, including our children’s lives. For children all over the world, going online is central to their education, how they connect and play with friends, near or from afar, and have fun. At Xbox, we believe that technology and gaming can have a positive impact on our lives, but as with everything, understanding (and knowledge of) safe use is essential. It’s crucial that children and those who are new to using the Internet learn how to navigate it and online gaming safely – these are important skills they can use throughout the rest of their lives.
Ahead of the 19th annual global Safer Internet Day, we want to empower children, parents, caregivers and educators with resources to help them understand online safety and how to be responsible digital citizens. Minecraft: Education Edition has created a new immersive world, CyberSafe: Home Sweet Hmm that is designed to help young people learn to recognize common threats on the Internet, build strategies for protecting themselves and their information, and know where to go if they need help.
It’s a fun way for students to learn about online safety while playing in their favorite blocky universe!
CyberSafe: Home Sweet Hmm is a fun and creative introduction to cyber safety for children aged 7-12.
It’s available for free to all Minecraft: Education Edition users. The name “CyberSafe: Home Sweet Hmm” comes from the familiar sound of Minecraft’s iconic Villagers, who don’t speak but rather grunt “hmm.” In the CyberSafe adventure, this sound also represents the act of pausing to think about how to navigate the Internet safely.
This game-based learning experience introduces fundamental cyber safety principles and demonstrates ways to stay safe online. The single-player lesson provides Internet safety scenarios to help children make informed decisions by focusing on one guiding principle: Stop and think before you click. The adventure will also soon be available in the Education Collection of the Minecraft Marketplace.
Players begin the game in their virtual home, where they’ll meet the Trusted Adult, a non-player character (NPC) that acts as a guide through the game. From there, players progress through four pillars of cyber safety, from verifying their contacts’ identities and protecting their passwords to phishing prevention and avoiding scams. CyberSafe features four challenges:
1) Want to play online with me?
A friend from school invites the player into an online game and shares their username. But when players make their way through the Internet to the game lobby, they run into a problem—there are four friend requests, all with very similar handles. They’ll have to discern which friend request to accept based on the details of the usernames.
This activity aims to reinforce the idea of connecting safely with others online.
2) Online maze? I can complete it!
The player travels through the Internet to arrive at a maze where the Pro Gamer NPC waits for them. The NPC says they have cheat codes to help the player through the winding maze. They must decide whether it’s safe to exchange their login information for the codes. This activity is designed to remind young players about not exchanging login information with anyone.
3) New emerald armour?! Definitely!
The Trusted Adult has ordered new emerald armour from MineMart, but they’ve received a message about an issue with the order. The player must travel through the Internet to MineMart, where they’re told they’ll need to enter their account information. Then, they must choose whether to provide that info. This activity is a reminder to secure personal information and not share with others.
4) Yummy! Pumpkin pie!
The Trusted Adult asks the player to buy a pumpkin pie from a familiar site online. But when the player searches, they find several different results for pumpkin pies. Their player’s goal is to choose the correct product based on familiarity, reviews, recommendations, and other sources of trust. This activity reminds young players to assess quality of information based on variety of factors.
In each of these scenarios, players not only have the chance to make decisions about the right or wrong course of action, but also learn to seek advice from their Trusted Adult. These challenges teach the player how to practice thinking before they click and reinforce that they can rely on the support of a trusted adult – a parent, caregiver or other adult they trust – to guide them safely through life on the Internet.
Once players have completed the game, they’ll have an opportunity to reflect on what they’ve learned.
As a gaming parent myself, these are all extremely worthwhile and important lessons and Minecraft is an excellent place to impart them.
My kids found the Climate Warriors adventure really engaging and helpful for understanding some of the issues surrounding bushfires in an approachable but non-scary way, and this latest adventure is pitched at the same age group so I am keen to see the experience it offers them.
Cybersafe: Home Sweet Hmm will be available in the Bedrock (standard) version of Minecraft in March – and I definitely plan to be taking my kids through it when it launches.