I saw a flyer sent home from a local school recently that was giving parent advice on online safety and I applaud that school for doing so.
In the letter they addressed the concerns around the Battle Royale game Fortnite giving Pro’s and Con’s and tips on dealing with a child’s want to play.
It would have been very easy for this to have turned into another video game bashing moment, but it wasn’t, it was brilliantly delivered with education and information. Most of the concern was targeting news stories that have been circulating in the last few weeks based on “how tired kids are at school” because they have been up all night playing Fortnite. There was good advice here to turn off the device 2 hours before bed to allow their brains to relax ready for a good nights rest.
As you can probably tell from my video game website here I am a video game advocate, but I’m also an advocate for child safety and for moderation so I’d like to take a moment to highlight the good work done and expand on it.
Fortnite is suggested for ages 12+ but video game’s should be monitored by parents. Every family is different with varied levels of what is acceptable, it’s important that parents take an active role in discussing with children what is and isn’t acceptable with a game. Kids can get exposed to games through other means like Twitch or even at a friends house, that’s why a discussion is so important.
So what is Fortnite?
Fortnite is a Battle Royal game played as multiplayer only. It uses Cartoon violence to portray a military type game that in much the same way as the popular books and movies “The Hunger Games”, has a group of people dropped on an island who then have to battle it out until there is one survivor. This can also be played in teams so the winning team can be victorious. Fortnite is different to other games in the same genre in that it incorporates a “Mine-Craft” style building aspect where you build forts to climb and protect yourself and team-mates.
The Pro’s of a game like Fortnite is:
Teamwork – In the game you can choose to go solo or work with friends. Using team chat you can devise strategies to help each other and call for help if you are downed.
Can be Educational – As mentioned, strategy is the way you win. If you go into the game “guns-a-blazing” you are less likely to win. The game works at it’s best when you can learn when to protect and when to attack.
Fun – This game is so much fun, it’s bright and colourful with cartoon style graphics. You can dress your character in a number of zany ways and playing in groups brings many memorable moments that you will continue to talk about as you play. “Remember that time you did this!”
Violence – The game is cartoon and there is no blood, but you are picking up guns, ammo and other hand held weapons to set out to take down opposition players.
In-App Purchases – This is something to be very aware of. Disable any credit card features if you don’t want a massive unexpected bill from the kids buying a new space helmet or tuxedo outfit or some other ascetic.
Chat and Voice Chat – Some people can be very rude, and there can be a few swear bears when you use the in game chat. If you have decided the game is ok for your kids to play, it might be a good idea to go into settings and “disable in game chat’. If they play with friends on a system like the Xbox get them to start a “Party Chat” so that the only voices they hear are each others.
I would suggest that any parent looks up the game Fortnite and decides for themselves if their child should be playing it. Like all thing’s in life it’s important to set some rules around moderation.
Here are a couple of examples to get you started.
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This article originally appeared on doccydarko.com titled “Parental Concerns Answered: Fortnite”.