I kind of wish there had been something like Minecraft around when I was a kid, too. I think it's a great way of encouraging some creative exploration and problem-solving and expressing oneself, and I certainly would've needed some of that. I never learned to truly use my creativity and I feel I'm quite stunted in that regards. There are plenty of great games these days that explore various kinds of settings and things and could be of great influence in kids, I just wish more parents were willing to explore and think about what could be useful for their kids. Also, one thing that comes to mind is how my ex has trouble learning stuff, especially foreign languages, so soaking her in an English-speaking environment in the form of a game she enjoyed really boosted her skills; I see no valid reason for why similar approach couldn't be used for children with trouble learning this or that.
And as far as TFS’ assertion that, “Setting a child free on the Internet is a failure to cordon off the world and its dangers,” may I just say, “Fuck you!” I’ve never once felt the need to shield my son from reality. We’ve talked to him throughout his life about the fact that there are bad people and that there are things you should never do online because they could put you at risk in the real world (sharing personal information, arranging to meet people, etc.). I think my son is a much better adjusted young human being for the trust and faith that we’ve shown that we have in him. Teaching, guidance, and trust are much better tools than surveillance and censorship. It’s the same approach that my parents took with me (admittedly more out of ignorance of what the Internet was at the time on their part). It worked out alright for me, and my son has never done anything to make me regret taking the same approach with him.
I agree with you there. Shielding the child from all the bad things seems like a way of causing more permanent harm to the child than letting the kid know about all the bad things and then discussing them. Of course one should pay a little bit attention, but going overboard with protection is just wrong, kids *will* sooner or later find out about all the stuff anyways. You sound like a reasonably good parent, I give you props for that, and hopefully your kids will do that too when they grow older