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Creative Tool to Addiction

Teresa Heffernan 128

Photo by Nina PhotoLab on Unsplash

Addicted to Minecraft

Originally created in 2009 by Mojang, the first version of the game was created in 6 days. The simplest explanation of the game is a free world of varying terrain made of textured 3D blocks of different materials where you can build anything you like. There are different modes, for example Survival Mode, where the player must gather resources whilst under threat of demons and mobs. The game is an ongoing story, it is not the type of game you can ever complete, it is what is known as a sandbox game, meaning there is no overall quest or plot. The game encourages players to explore and broaden aspects of their minds by being creative, improving reflexes, using combative strategies and so on.

There are various versions of this game. It is easily downloadable on Android phones, PCs, Xbox, Mac, Windows, and Linux setups.

There are, as is often the case, pros and cons to the game. Whilst many use the game as just that, a game, which they play from time to time, or perhaps even regularly, but not to excesses, some become obsessed and slip into various degrees of addition.

The game is such that players should communicate to make the most of their playtime, communicating their own wishes, negotiating with other players, respecting other players requests, etc. Players can communicate via text or speech. This can help with various skills and, especially in the current lockdown times we are living in, help to keep gamers in touch with their gaming friends.

In her 2020 article, Minecraft In Education — Here’s Why It’s Becoming Trendy In the Classroom, (Engel, 2021) Keri Lynn Engel writes “From the beginning, Minecraft was used by creative teachers as a tool in the classroom to bring historical buildings to life, encourage students to work together on group projects within Minecraft, etc.

In 2016, Microsoft released a version of Minecraft specifically for educators called Minecraft: Education Edition or MinecraftEDU for short.

The basic core of the game is the same, but the education version adds extra features. Students can download the game at home without having to pay for their own version of the game, and they can take photos within the game and share them with other students.”

2015 saw Derry-based innovation festival CultureTECH secured £60,000 of funding from the Department of Culture, Arts and Leisure to provide free MinecraftEDU licenses to over 200 schools and 30 libraries.

CultureTECH chief executive Mark Nagurski said the game’s popularity meant it could easily be used to help children learn the STEM subjects — science, technology, engineering and mathematics — as well as art, history and computer coding.

(BBC, 2021) NI Culture minister Carál Ní Chuilín said the project had a role to play in education and economic development.

“Game players regularly exhibit persistence, risk taking, attention to detail and problem-solving skills. By making Minecraft available, we hope to encourage this kind of behaviour.”

Photo by Aron Visuals on Unsplash

2018 saw the introduction in China of new rules for playing online games. Children under 12 years old can play for a maximum of one hour a day, children over 12 years old can play for a maximum of two hours with these times falling within set daytime hours. Gamers are obliged to register their Chinese IDs against a police database.

Microsoft bought Mojang in 2014 for 2.5 million USD, from there Minecraft evolved and there were many spinoffs such as Minecraft Dungeons and Minecraft Earth with countless addons.

(World Health Organisation, 2021) The World Health Organisation says that “Gaming disorder is defined in the 11th Revision of the International Classification of Diseases (ICD-11) as a pattern of gaming behaviour (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the behaviour pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning and would normally have been evident for at least 12 months.”

Photo by Mark Decile on Unsplash

Mark D. Griffiths PH.D. wrote (Ph.D., 2021) “Predictably, the video game industry has not welcomed the WHO’s decision to include GD in the ICD-11 and issued a statement to say gaming has many personal benefits and that GD will create moral panic and “abuse of diagnosis.” None of us in the field dispute the fact that gaming has many benefits, but many other activities (such as work, sex, and exercise) can be disordered and “addictive” for a small minority, and so this is not a good basis for denying the existence of GD. The video game industry also claims the empirical basis for GD is highly contested, but then ironically uses non-empirical claims (i.e., that the introduction of GD will cause a “moral panic” and lead to diagnostic abuse by practitioners) as a core argument for why GD should not exist.”

Relevant Legislation

GDPR as the name indicates, the data protection regulation is general and therefore there are no specific rules for online gaming. The nature of the use of communicating through Minecraft is that of building an online community, GDPR may place a stumbling block in that path.

Data protection is a fundamental right set out in Article 8 of the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights, which states;

  1. Everyone has the right to the protection of personal data concerning him or her.
  2. Such data must be processed fairly for specified purposes and on the basis of the consent of the person concerned, or some other legitimate basis laid down by law. Everyone has the right of access to data which has been collected concerning him or her, and the right to have it rectified.
  3. Compliance with these rules shall be subject to control by an independent authority.

In order to process personal data, organisations must have a lawful reason. The lawful reasons for processing personal data are set out in Article 6 of the GDPR. The six lawful reasons for processing personal data are:

  1. Consent.
  2. To carry out a contract.
  3. In order for an organisation to meet a legal obligation.
  4. Where processing the personal data is necessary to protect the vital interests of a person.
  5. Where processing the personal data is necessary for the performance of a task carried out in the public interest.
  6. In the legitimate interests of a company/organisation (except where those interests contradict or harm the interests or rights and freedoms of the individual).

Any one of the six reasons given above can provide a legal reason for processing personal data.


BBC. (2021, March 15). https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-foyle-west-32050073. Retrieved from https://www.bbc.com/: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-northern-ireland-foyle-west-32050073

Engel, K. L. (2021, March 11). Minecraft In Education — Here’s Why It’s Becoming Trendy In The Classroom. Retrieved from Who Is Hosting This: https://www.whoishostingthis.com/compare/minecraft/education/#:~:text=From%20the%20beginning,%20Minecraft%20was%20used%20by%20creative,called%20Minecraft:%20Education%20Edition%20or%20MinecraftEDU%20for%20short.

Ph.D., M. D. (2021, March 15). https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-excess/201906/gaming-disorder-revisited. Retrieved from https://www.psychologytoday.com/: https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/in-excess/201906/gaming-disorder-revisited

World Health Organisation. (2021, March 15). https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/addictive-behaviours-gaming-disorder. Retrieved from World Health Organisation: https://www.who.int/news-room/q-a-detail/addictive-behaviours-gaming-disorder