3 Reasons Parents Should Say NO to Fortnite

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This week we made the decision to say NO to Fortnite, arguably the most popular video game on the planet. Fortnite Battle Royale is being played by children of all ages – my son and his friends talk about it at school, they watch Youtube videos about it, and basically they are obsessed. Apparently every boy in my son’s Grade 4/5 class has Fortnite, except my son. He’s played it at a friend’s house, and is truly devastated that we won’t allow it. So why say no?

During the past couple of weeks, we had decided to download the game so my husband could test it and then he allowed our 9 year old to demonstrate the game to me (since he has already played it) so I could also see what was going on. Fortnite Battle Royale allows up to 100 players in a game with each one attempting to be the last player alive by killing other players or evading them while staying within a constantly shrinking safe zone. It’s also a strategy game where players search for weapons, armour and resources to help them survive.

I watched with an open mind and while I appreciated the cool factor of the game, I was left feeling uneasy for a few reasons:

Reason 1 – Realistic Weaponry

While the characters in Fortnite are cartoonlike, the weapons in the game look all too real. In a world where we can’t help but hear about gun violence, it is disturbing to watch my 9 year old “pick up” an AK-47 assault rifle and blast away at his targets in the game. Other weapons in the game included rocket launchers, revolvers, sniper rifles, grenades, shotguns, and pistols.

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When we discussed our decision to say no to Fortnite with our son, he was surprised to learn these types of weapons are real. He innocently thought it was all a made up part of the game.

Why does Fortnite feature the same assault weapon being used in combat by soldiers and sadly, by disturbed individuals to slaughter innocent victims including schoolchildren? What are we teaching our kids by introducing shooting games with such realistic weaponry?  Is this really the right thing to do?

Reason 2: The Targets are People

Another thing that really bothers me about Fortnite is that the targets are people. In Fortnight: Battle Royale, you play online against other players who each have their own cartoonlike “person”. Your character is a target and you are out to kill all the other people in the game (there is no blood though).

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Why would this seem appropriate for children? In other video games that my child plays, the targets in the game are zombies, or if there is a people target, they are getting nailed with a paint gun. We long ago decided that shooting games like Call of Duty are out of bounds for our family, so why should this be any different?

Reason 3: In App Purchases

As with any free mobile game, game designers make money by offering in app purchases and Fortnight: Battle Royale is no different. According to Business Insider, users are spending $1 million per day on Fortnite purchases including skins (outfits), dances, gliders and pickaxes so this is a multi-million dollar business for them. These purchases are not needed to succeed in the game but are extremely desirable.

Last year, our son got hold of our Google Play Store password and racked up over $100 dollars in app game purchases on his tablet (for other games). That was a good lesson for us and we have become very conscious that so called free mobile games are created with the goal of making users, including children, want to buy, buy, buy.

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Obviously you can set passwords for such purchases but it won’t stop your child from wanting to buy the latest Battle Pass. It’s like gambling for kids so be aware.

Be Aware of Playing with a Headset

With our devices, we didn’t run into this, however I have now learned that it is possible to talk to others playing the game with a headset. Obviously I wouldn’t want to have my child talking to random strangers so we wouldn’t use a headset for the game if we allowed our son to play. If your family plays the game, be sure to check the communication settings on your devices to make sure they are age appropriate.

Final Thoughts

At the end of the day, saying no to Fortnite was hard. It is very difficult to say no to something when it’s so popular and so many other families in our school and circle have said yes. However, I’ve never been one to make decisions because of what somebody else is doing, and in the end, it came down to a gut feeling that this is wrong for my kid.

We are doing our best to navigate a world where 8 year old kids bring iPhones to school (don’t get me started), our kids are no longer learning cursive handwriting at school because this generation will be spending so much time on computers, and parents are undeniably allowing too much screen time for kids instead of encouraging play.

It’s not easy to go against the flow, but I encourage every parent to do their own research and make conscious choices for their kids when it comes to technology and games like Fortnite.

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7 thoughts on “3 Reasons Parents Should Say NO to Fortnite

  1. Reason 1: Realistic Weapons
    Yeah, the game does have realistic weapons but it also has/had guns or other harmful items in the game like a laser gun, an electric ceiling trap, Cupid’s crossbow, impulse grenades, and a remote controlled rocket launcher with a hologram that comes out of the controller. Also, what is the greatest amount of harm that can come out of your kids knowing the names of real guns. I bet every 8 year old these days has heard the term AK-47. I’m not saying it’s good to let your kids know this, I’m just saying it’s not a very big issue.
    Reason 2: The Targets are People
    It’s stated in this article that the other shooting games you let your kid play are games when zombies are the target. Wouldn’t that be more graphic, though? Think about it, zombies are usually portrayed with some of they’re insides shown from the outside. They are usually covered in blood. They literally hunger for human brains. You even stated in the article that Fortnite has no gore or blood.
    Reason 3: In App Purchases
    You don’t have to buy these things for your kid. If he wants it but you don’t then don’t buy it. The Battle Pass, however, is worth it if you’re really gonna play the game a lot. It provides outfits, backpacks, pickaxes, XP that can be shared to other players you play with, and even more V-Bucks, so you can buy the next Battle Pass. Speaking of that, the Battle Pass is a seasonal thing, so you will have to buy it when the new season comes out, but using the Battle Pass from last season, you should be able to buy it again if you level up enough. And if you don’t like how $10 only gets you skins and pickaxes and stuff, it’s a game, it’s literally made for leveling up and having fun.
    Playing with headsets:
    If you’re not interested in talking to strangers online, you can mute your microphone on your headset, and you are totally silent to everybody else you play with. If you have a headset like mine (the Razer Kraken 7.1 v2) you can mute your microphone using a button on the actual headset. I highly recommend getting a headset anyway, however, because it makes playing with your friends a whole lot more fun. Also, a lot of the game is based off sound, so you will need a good way to get immersed and really hear everything, which can be hard if you just play through your TV speakers, or through speakers you have for your computer.

    Also, no, kids totally learn cursive in school.

  2. I want to commend you for standing up to what is bound to be vast pressure and keeping your kids from this and related games. I find first person shooter games abhorrent. Kids should not play them. Adults shouldn’t either.

  3. You are a moron. If you are going to say “so and so weapon is in the game” make sure it is actually in the game. Now there are SCARs and bullpups but there aren’t any ak47s or what you are thinking of as a 3 round burst is a fictitious resemblance to. AK47 is a Russian built twin setting assault rifle with semi-auto and automatic fire settings on the original. Today’s models are mostly semi-auto. I’d like to point out that the majority of the guns in the game are absolutely fictitious. Your child will eventually be exposed to guns and hiding them from it does nothing but take away any control you COULD HAVE had over it. Sheltering your child is far more harmful than you think. You hide them away from reality and then they have no idea how to handle the situation when it does arise later, which I assure you that it will. Face reality and problems head on, because hiding doesn’t solve anything. That is probably why your child went on a spending spree, you don’t have him EARN money so he doesn’t know the worth of a dollar.

  4. Realistic? There is no ak-47 in the game and also, take a look at the tac shotgun, grappler, bouncer, launch pad, and damage trap. A USER SPENDS $1 M a day? That is a total of everyone, surely. Also, if you want to target a game, go for PUBG, blood, dead bodies, realistic(more) sounds, running people over. It is not the material of the game you should blame, but how the parents teach their child to do, not do, and learn ehat is inside the game.

  5. You’re kind of a helicopter parent. This game isn’t really that big of a deal since it’s not actually real. No kid would go from picking up an assault rifle in a video game and pressing a button to purchasing an actual assault rifle and shooting that. People are targets, why is that necessarily a terrible thing? If you child so innocently didn’t even know that there are real guns, then why should (s)he see killing as an actual element outside of the game. The targets don’t even have blood! According to that logic, using a water gun isn’t really a great idea either. Also, in app purchases can be cut out of the equation just by adding in a parental
    lock or code before anything is purchased. The only REAL reason a child shouldn’t play this game would be the time wasted playing countless hours of screen time, which I didn’t even see listed here.

  6. Three very good reasons I think. I would also add that the game is very addictive. As a parent I decided to check the game out and found myself getting addicted (ironically my son can take or leave the game). I have since deleted the game.
    It is intriguing to me that as a society we allow and at times encourage children to play games, the objective of which is to murder people. Murder is illegal. So is rape and torture. Could you imagine the scandal if someone created a game in which the goal was to torture and rape people. It wouldn’t last a day. Yet we happily send our kids off for an hour or two of virtual murder and destruction while we get a moment’s rest.

    It is serious cause for concern.

    Steve

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