Minecraft: Education Edition's new world teaches internet safety

Getting a slight head start on February 8th's Safer Internet Day 2022, Microsoft and Mojang have unveiled a new world for Minecraft: Education Edition that aims to teach kids about staying safe online. The new single-player world, called "CyberSafe: Home Sweet Hmm," is described as an hour-long way for kids ages 7-12 to learn about online safety and privacy, as well as the basic concepts behind having a digital identity, through a series of in-game activities.

According to Microsoft, the "Home Sweet Hmm" title carries a double meaning, as it's both similar to the sound that Minecraft's non-speaking villagers make and it illustrates the scenario's key tenet: to "Stop and think before you click." As of now, all Minecraft: Education Edition users will have access to "CyberSafe: Home Sweet Hmm" for free as part of their membership. The title will also be added to the Minecraft Marketplace's Education Collection in March of 2022.

The internet safety activities

There are a total of four scenarios in "CyberSafe" that kids will be able to complete — along with some suggested exercises they can reflect on once they've finished.

"Want to play online with me?" is about what to do when the participant is trying to play online with a friend, but can't figure out which friend request and user handle are the correct ones. Kids will learn how to tell the difference between the different user names, and why it's important to pay close attention to these details when playing online.

The "Online maze? I can complete it!" activity is meant to teach young players not to share their login information by presenting them with a Pro Gamer NPC that will offer to give them cheat codes in exchange. Then "New emerald armor?! Definitely!" reinforces the idea of not sharing important personal information or details when a Trusted Adult NPC has issues with a MineMart order for emerald armor.

"Yummy! Pumpkin pie!" rounds out the lesson with the Trusted Adult NPC asking the player to order a pie from a trusted website. Young players will need to learn how to determine which of multiple pie-selling websites is trustworthy, and how to go about finding that information.

Ultimately, the goal is to teach kids to avoid making hasty decisions online, help them figure out the right and wrong way to approach a given scenario, and show them that it's okay to go to a trusted adult (a parent, caregiver, etc.) for advice when they may not know what to do.