In the space of a few years, the computer game Minecraft has come to dominate the spare hours of millions of children, and has even entered the classroom. But is this an entirely good thing, asks Jolyon Jenkins.
If I want to irritate my 13-year-old son, Joe, I refer to Minecraft as "digital Lego". He grew out of Lego a long time ago.
But that's what Minecraft is - a computer game in which you build things using cubic blocks. But it's Lego on steroids. You never run out of blocks and they never topple over. You can walk among your own creations, and play online with other people who are in the same world.
Sometimes, monsters come out after dark to try to kill you, which is never pleasant, but compared with games like Grand Theft Auto and Call of Duty, Minecraft is innocent, peaceful, and pretty wholesome.
So why does it drive so many parents to distraction?