Fortnite: How safe is it for kids?
Fortnite… A game that has become increasingly popular over recent months for both children and adults of all ages. The game itself has two different modes: Save the World and Battle Royal. Both modes consist of similar gameplay and design. In Save the World mode, you team up with players to eliminate hordes of monsters using whatever you can scavenge from the map. This game mode is not free and is the less popular of the two. Battle Royal mode drops you into a map with 99 other players and just a pickaxe. The aim is to be the last one standing. You do this by breaking buildings or trees and gathering resources so that you can build walls or ramps to protect yourself, and by gathering weapons to eliminate your opponents. Battle Royal is free to play, so long as you have access to your platform’s online services.
So far, Fortnite sounds incredibly violent. You might be surprised to find out that the game is actually only rated by PEGI as a 12 for scenes of mild violence. This is because of the game’s cartoon style and lack of blood or gore. When a character is eliminated they simply fall to the floor and disappear from the game.
I’m 19, and don’t have any children, but I do play Fortnite fairly regularly. So I’m not going to tell you what your children should or should not be playing online. That being said, I do have some tips on how to ensure that if you do decide to let your child play this game, they are as safe as they can be online.
One thing the age rating doesn’t consider is the fact that you need to be able to hear what’s going on in the game to know where other players are. Due to this, most people will choose to wear a headset. This means that you can hear what other people in the game are saying and they can hear you. The game gets quite intense at times and there’s a lot of bad language and inappropriate conversations that take place while online which your child will be able to hear. The way to counter this, is to set up a private party outside of the game for your child and their friends so that they only talk to people they know and not random strangers online.
You can’t hear everything.
Sometimes you’ll catch half a conversation and be worried about what your child is talking about when in actual fact it could be harmless. To put your mind at rest you can set sound to come out of both their headset and the TV or monitor so that they can still talk through the headset and you can hear what’s going on. This is especially helpful if your child isn’t in a private party.
While the Battle Royal mode is free to play there is the option to spend money on various
different avatars, gliders, dances, etc. They do nothing for the performance of the game; they do not help you in any way other than making you look different. To ensure that you don’t have a huge bill for the sake of an Easter bunny costume, make sure your credit card details aren’t stored on your child’s gaming device. If this information is stored on a device, set passwords so that only you can spend. As cool as it is being able to do a victory dance dressed as a bunny, it might not be worth the pennies.
Stress and anger.
Fortnite can be quite intense. Being in the final two before falling off a mountain and losing can be quite stressful. I have shouted at my TV on more than one occasion… a lot more than one occasion if I’m really honest. The best way to deal with this is to set time limits. That way your child has time to cool down if they do find themselves getting angry at the game or at themselves. Most games in Battle Royal mode last about 20 minutes.
You should try and play the game yourself. If you make playing Fortnite into a family activity then you might have a better understanding why your child plays. If you can understand the game and how winning or losing makes you feel then you might feel more confident in making decisions surrounding what you do and don’t allow your child to play.
These are my tips for staying safe on Fortnite. If I have missed anything then please add your tips in the comments below! If you need a little more convincing then check out these reviews from other parents: https://www.commonsensemedia.org/game-reviews/fortnite/user-reviews/adult
Like and share so that other parents can see these tips! Staying safe online is important, even on Fortnite.