Should I Let My Child Play FortNite?

FortNite has been a pop-culture phenomenon for the last couple months, in my household specifically, it’s been since February 2018. A frequent question I see so often in mommy groups is whether they should allow their child to play FortNite. Usually the question is followed by a lot of misinformation. Before I continue, I want parents reading this to know that each child is different and it’s up to you to use your judgement. Personally, my 8-year-old son plays,  and my husband and I even as a squad and try to get a victory royale together. So as both a mother and actual FortNite player I want to share this information.

1. The genre of game is not First-Person Shooter, it is Battle Royale, which is a style of game where 100 players get dropped on an island to be the last one standing (or ones if you’re playing squads/duos).  In FortNite, you are also outrunning a storm. There is shooting and weaponry involved. The difference is literal viewing/perspective. In a First-Person Shooter you are seeing it as if you are the shooter. In battle royale you are controlling a character and viewing your character.

2. Theres NO GORE. Not a single drop of blood, no graphic injury, no gasping for life. There’s far more gore in a Marvel or Star Wars movie. While again, every parent is entitled to make their decisions for the kids I personally, find it hypocritical to allow blood and gore in films and shows but criticize a game with none.

3. But what about all the kids who are getting addicted? Yes, I heard the story about the mom who turned the wi-fi off because her kid got up at 4am in the morning to play FortNite. First and foremost, people need to recognize addiction as a mental illness. Addiction doesn’t just happen. Someone with an addictive personality is going to become addicted to SOMETHING, if you choose to not have it be FortNite it can/will be something else.  Boundaries and children not respecting those boundaries is not necessarily the same as an addiction. Can this game create addiction? No, again that’s something already there. Can it trigger it? YES. If your child has exhibited behaviors of an addictive personality, it’s probably best to not let them play this game.

4. The violence. The biggest turn off for most parents is the violent content of the game. Common Sense Media critics cite 13+, parents cite 11+, kids say 10+. Yes, your child will learn the names of different types of guns and grenades, if that’s an issue then don’t let them play.  As stated before there is no gore, injury, etc. When you are eliminated a hover thing comes above and teleports you back into the lobby. As violent as the game is, it’s also silly. One of the harvesting tools for materials is a pink and green balloon that squeaks when you hack away at a tree or stack of wood pallets.

5. The game offers a lot of discussion topics. If your child is not ready to handle certain discussions, it’s probably best to stay away.  Topics include: Gun Violence (why they are wrong in the real world), Gun safety (differences between handling a gun in a game and in real life — should they ever come across one) EMOTIONAL CONTROL, camaraderie and team work, etc.

Another note, chatting in the game is optional. You can turn it off so your kids aren’t talking to people and they are not talking back. On Xbox you can create parties that are for kids only, no swearing, etc. My husband and I play FortNite with our 8-year-old. It has offered us an additional activity for family bonding. We’ve personally discussed gun violence and why it’s wrong, and to our surprise last school year he wrote a poem about how gun ownership is bad in the real world. One thing we’re able to openly discuss is emotional control, often times when he is playing alone he can become frustrated to where we ask him to put the controller down/turn the game off and breathe.