Few games have risen to the level of pop-culture ubiquity that Fortnite has enjoyed in recent years. While its ubiquity can be a blessing for families, it’s also important to understand why kids are so drawn to this game and how to talk about whether or not your child should play.
Fortnite is a free-to-play multiplayer video game that allows up to 100 players, on one or more devices, to compete in a multiplayer battle royale. The game is updated weekly and re-defines the concept of video games as a service, constantly updating with new gameplay options, including new game modes and events like limited-time emotes or weapons. In addition, the game is often used as a platform for social interactions, with many users creating their own islands and experiences that can be shared with other players on the platform.
The game has a PEGI 12+ rating and features cartoonish violence, but it does involve killing other players, and some of those scenes may disturb younger children. It is also a massive multiplayer game with unmoderated chat functionality in which players are open to communications (via voice or on-screen text) from anyone they are playing with, which could put some kids at risk of exposure to online bullying or extremism.
Kids who are addicted to fortnite can easily become absorbed in the gameplay, which is often lengthy and can cause boredom or sleep deprivation, or they might spend too much time on their phones, laptops or computers watching videos of people playing fortnite on YouTube or other gaming platforms. This can lead to real-world issues, such as poor school performance or social isolation.
Parents can take steps to address this issue, including encouraging children to play in the same room or at friends’ houses. They can also set screen time limits and be willing to listen to their kids’ concerns about how much time they should spend on the game. For example, kids with ADHD or who have trouble interacting socially may need more limits than other kids.
There are some concerns about how Fortnite uses data, as it collects information on how players engage with the game, which can be used for marketing purposes. Players can also earn virtual currency in the form of “V-Bucks” and spend them on cosmetic upgrades to their character. V-Bucks can be purchased with real money or earned through gameplay.
Fortnite is available on PC, PlayStation 4, Nintendo Switch, Xbox X and S series and Android smartphones through the Epic Games app. It’s also cross-platform, which means that a player on one device can interact with another player on a different platform. The game is free, but players can purchase items in the game with real money. The game also includes microtransactions, such as virtual gifts and clothing. This is a common feature of free-to-play multiplayer games, but it’s worth considering how your child will respond to these types of transactions. The company has stated that it will not use these virtual purchases to promote violence, racism, sexism or any other type of intolerance.