What Every Parent Needs to Know About Fortnite: Is It the Good Game for Kids?

Fortnite is a new game that can be downloaded for free and played on PCs, Macs, gaming consoles like the Xbox One and PlayStation 4, and mobile devices in the near future. Developer Epic Games has just recorded 3.4 million concurrent users, and the game's popularity is only rising. In terms of popularity, it's on par with the industry's top titles.

The game falls under the genre known as “third-person shooters,” in which the player is able to see the action unfold from a perspective behind the protagonist while they engage in gun battles.

The target demographic for a first-person shooter may be assumed to be adults and older teenagers. At the same time, at least half of the seventh graders in my daughter's class play frequently, and it's not hard to discover reports from parents that kids as young as eight or nine are also committed players.

Now, then, what is this Fortnite thing all about? Do you think it's age-appropriate for these kids? What specific dangers do you run the risk of exposing your children to, if any, and what, if any, advantages would you expect? Get the answers to these and other issues in our comprehensive guide for parents to Fortnite.

Let's first see What is Fortnite?….

What is Fortnite?

A multiplayer online shooter, Fortnite is played from the third-person perspective. The free-to-play Battle Royale mode was inspired by works such as The Hunger Games and the Japanese cult classic Battle Royale.

The game may support up to 100 players, all of whom are dropped onto a single island and tasked with exploring the area in search of weapons with which to defend themselves and attack their opponents.

As the playing field contracts, players are increasingly matched up against one another until just one player is left and the game is over. If your child is playing (or requesting to play) Fortnite, chances are they aren't doing so in Save the World, a mode that is now locked to those who spend at least $50.

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A computer controls hordes of zombie-like opponents in Save the World. The mode borrows several gameplay elements from Minecraft, such as the ability to loot and use found materials to construct defensive constructions and lethal weaponry.

For What Ages is Fortnite Appropriate?

Due to the violence in the game, the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) gave Fortnite a Teen rating (T).In their rating, they explain why the game is good for people over the age of 13:

From a third-person perspective, players engage skeleton-like enemies (husks) in ranged and melee combat using firearms, swords, and explosives. Gamers can also use traps to defeat opponents. Gunfire, explosions, and cries of suffering are typical battlefield features. Combatants in Battle Royale mode engage in “last man standing”-style gunfights on a shrinking island.

Common Sense Media's Associate Managing Editor Frannie Ucciferri writes, “Common Sense doesn't advocate games featuring open chat for kids under 13, but with the correct controls and parental direction, this can be a tween-friendly alternative to brutal first-person shooters.”

She elaborates, saying that Fortnite's “cartoonish, bloodless aesthetic of the action” is less troublesome for some parents than the intense gore of other popular shooting games. However, the online chat function in the game, especially in Battle Royale, may expose younger players to harsh language or mature content from complete strangers.

Would My Child's Exposure to Fortnite Increase His Aggression & Violence?

Short answer: No. Several studies, including one conducted last fall in the Netherlands that observed the behavior of over 200 children who were exposed to a violent video game at the age of nine, demonstrate that violent video games do not promote aggression in children.

While the exact action or material within a game may have some effect on your child's mood, prolonged and frequent gaming is more indicative of an unhealthy fixation than of the game itself.

Is Fortnite Good for Kids?

For kids, Fortnite has both positive and negative aspects. Dr. Deborah Gilboa, an expert in parenting and child development, recently told TODAY Parents that their children have a “wonderful opportunity” to learn skills like cooperation, communication, problem-solving, and tenacity.

Yet there are risks as well. Gilboa warned parents to “supervise your kids, especially those under 14,” while playing the game. Clinical child psychologist Dr. Randy Kulman concurs with the ESRB's Teen rating. Because of the graphic nature of the violence, he argues, “I don't think it is an age-appropriate game,” he writes in Psychology Today.

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It's cartoony, sure, and if you die in Fortnite you can just start a new game right away, but the killing is completely random; if you come across another player, it's your choice to kill them or be killed. Regarding the opportunities for collaboration Dr. Gilboa offers, Dr. Kulman disagrees: “Everyone is your enemy: There are no allies, and you are all competing at the highest level for your existence.

This is not an effective method for encouraging the kind of cooperation that will be necessary for the survival of our planet and our species in the future. Concerning messages like those seen in games like Fortnite are especially problematic for younger children, who are still building their capacity to understand abstract notions, individuals who are different, and hypothetical problems.

The use of voice chat for player interaction is another potential issue. That implies a stranger might potentially say anything (violent, cruel, homophobic, sexist, sexual) to your child. The game also poses the risk of an improper stranger befriending or grooming your young child.

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