What Is Fortnite?
When your kids ask for permission to play Fortnite, chances are they’re referring to Fortnite: Battle Royale, the most popular of Fortnite’s game modes. While Fortnite: Save the World and Fortnite: Creative have their fans, Battle Royale eclipses them both with over 250-million active players.
The game plays like a complicated version of hide-and-seek – 100 players are scattered around an island and are tasked to find and eliminate all other players to win. During the match, the players need to find raw materials for building defensive structures and weapons for eliminating other players. These mechanics, alongside the game being available for free, helped push Fortnite to the top of the video game industry.
Today, Fortnite: Battle Royale stands as one of the most popular video games of all time, surpassing other iconic games like Minecraft and Tetris. Millions of people play the game every day while millions more watch other people play on YouTube and live-streaming sites like Twitch. Fortnite isn’t just a video game anymore – it’s a full-blown cultural phenomenon.
However, despite the game’s widespread popularity, Fortnite isn’t for everyone.
Should I Let My Child Play Fortnite?
While it’s ultimately up to you, there are some things you should keep in mind while you’re thinking about your decision.
While you can download the game for free, Fortnite requires you to create an account that asks for your or your children’s names and a valid email address. If you aren’t comfortable having that information out there, Fortnite might not be right for your kids.
Official Fortnite Age Ratings
While official age ratings are out there, Fortnite ratings aren’t only age-dependent. In fact, if you just focus on the recommended age, you’ll find that a lot of age ratings contradict each other. For example, in Europe, Fortnite has the PEGI 12 rating, which is closer to the ACB’s ‘PG’ rating than it is to the official ‘M’ rating.
That said, instead of focusing on age limits, you can focus on the content warnings most ratings have in common, which include depictions of violence, risks of user interaction, and in-game purchases. With these content warnings, you can better decide whether your child is ready for Fortnite.
In some cases, Fortnite can be a little unhealthy for your kids. For one, even though the game has cartoony graphics, your kids might learn aggressive behaviours from the violence in the game. The game can also increase your children’s time in front of a screen, which can affect their mood, sleep quality, and level of fatigue. On top of that, Fortnite can also expose your kids to inappropriate language and toxic behaviour from other players.
If your kids aren’t ready to take risks like these, they probably aren’t ready for Fortnite either.
How Do I Manage My Child’s Experience With Fortnite?
Play Fortnite Yourself
By playing a couple of rounds of Fortnite yourself, you can better understand why your kids love playing it and how you can best protect them from the nastier side of the game.
But, if playing the game yourself isn’t an option, you can also just join your kids while they’re playing. While you won’t be directly experiencing the gameplay, you can still learn a lot about Fortnite just from watching them play.
Learn To Use Parental Controls And Reporting Tools
The parental controls and reporting tools included with the game can also help you protect your children and manage their online interactions. With these tools, you can control who your child can speak with through text or audio chat, who can add your child as a friend, and how much other players know about your child’s account. You can also use these tools to censor swearing and to report problem players for inappropriate behaviour.
On top of that, the tools can even generate weekly playtime reports for you so you can easily review your child’s playtime and set up any needed restrictions.
Have An Honest Conversation About Rules And Restrictions
Instead of forcing rules on your kids, you can have a healthy discussion about the game with them. This way, your kids can better understand why you need to set some rules or restrictions and how these rules can help them enjoy the game more. You can even take this as an opportunity to work together with your kids and come up with a set of rules that both of you can agree on.
An honest and open conversation like this can go a long way. And, if you only have time for one of our suggestions, then this is the one to follow.
While Fortnite is officially rated for teens, the game still isn’t for everyone. But, with careful and active parenting, Fortnite can be a positive experience for your kids.
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