How Fortnite can affect friendships

Is Fortnite a good game for my kids?

It’s a question I get a lot!

In short I think it’s a great game but, like with most games, there are some risks. And with Fortnite being so popular there are some specific risks you should know about.

 

What is Fortnite?

Fortnite is one of the most popular games at the moment. It’s played by 125 million players around the world. It’s a shooter game where you get dropped on an island with 99 others. Your goal is to kill everyone else. Last (wo)man standing wins!

Fortnite is so popular for 4 reasons:

  1. You can play it on every device. Making a typical console style game available on phones and tablets has opened a whole new market.
  2. It’s a shooter game without the gore. This makes it easy digestible, fun looking and arguably appropriate for a younger age bracket.
  3. It’s free! And of course the variable reward schedules of this game are optimized to keep you playing. You can read more on that in our resources.
  4. It’s very social. Some are even call it the new social media.

So what are the main risks with Fortnite?

  1. Excessive playing

Fortnite is a great game and we hear from parents that many young people are ‘obsessed’ with this game. Aside from the (small) risk of developing a gaming disorder, we see many conflicts between parents and children about the time spent on this game.

  1. Cybersafety

Fortnite is a multiplayer which means that your children can play with strangers.

These two risks are fairly common with most games. We strongly recommend that you carefully manage gaming in the family home, set appropriate boundaries and if gaming leads to conflict you should definitely reach out for help.

Fortnite can also affect your child’s (or your own) friendships

Due to its expanding popularity, there is a great chance that your child plays with his friends. Fortnite is the new afterschool ‘hangout’. Gone are the days when the neighbourhood kids met on the street or park. These days they play, chat and ‘dance’ in the virtual Fortnite world.

All this is positive and definitely part of why Fortnite is so popular. Kids playing together is wonderful, and kids playing online can extend your kid’s friendships.

Yet, as with any competitive activity that has limited parental supervision, there can be disagreements between friends. Frustrations are vented, things are said and mistakes are made. Friendships can become strained and parents may have no idea of how or why it happened.

So how big is the risk of falling out with friends over Fortnite?

All in all, the risk of falling out with friends over Fortnite is not much different than in any other occasion in which kids compete without adult supervision. We’re not saying this risk is unusual or a reason to not let your child play Fortnite. We’re just saying it’s a risk to look out for.

Risks are everywhere in life. You cross the road, you take a risk. As kids grow up they will take more and more risks, and that’s ok as long as they can keep themselves safe from harm. In the case of Fortnite, kids need to know how to interact positively and understand how communication online can be easily misinterpreted.  Parents and teachers we have a responsibility to teach and guide them in this journey, even if we don’t fully understand gaming ourselves.

Talk to us about how to keep kids safe online

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