The hidden dangers on Fortnite parents should watch out for.
After my recent blog post about Roblox, I decided to dive deep into other popular video games to see how safe they were for my kids. Fortnite was the next game that kept popping up in my web searches. Fortnite has more than 56 million active monthly users. I’d call that popular!
Fortnite, although adored by my husband (who is lately gaming like we’re 19 again- I blame the pandemic), has never been much of a hit with my girls. When I asked my middle daughter, who is nine, why she wasn’t into Fortnite but enjoyed Roblox quite a bit, she simply told me “well, in Roblox there are so many different games you can play that it’s always something new. But in Fortnite, all you do is battle. And once you die, you’re out of the game.”
After a bit of clicking around and chatting with my husband, it seems that my nine-year-old captured the essence of the game. Fortnite is a bit more like Solitaire than Roblox. And either you enjoy playing each round, the game never quite the same even if it’s literally the same game, over and over again, or you don’t. My husband enjoys the repetitive challenge. My nine-year-old wants variety. To each their own on this one.
Fortnite is free to play, although you can earn virtual rewards by completing tasks within the game, and you can purchase V-bucks gift cards that enable you to cash in for virtual items that are fun to use in-game. Unlike in Roblox, where gaming is virtually open and it is hard to find a starting and stopping point, Fortnite battles have finite ends.
The average battle in Fortnite takes only 20 minutes to win or lose.
Hidden danger on Fortnite: A Parent’s Guide
The good news is, with Fortnite, there doesn’t seem to be as much to worry about as there is with Roblox. In Fornite, as with Roblox, the biggest concern is the chat function.
Disable the Chat Function: The biggest worry for parents with Fortnite, it seems, is the chat function. Players can talk to one another as they battle, and the language can flow freely. My husband generally mutes his sound when he plays because it can be so distracting, but you can also disable the chat altogether when your child plays if you are worried that they might pick up a few choice words (or hear about unsavory topics) while gaming.
Limit Excessive Gaming: The other big worry I’ve seen parents express in regards to Fortnite is how frequently their kids play and how it can easily become addictive. This is something I can relate to! Sometimes I will lay in bed and play Solitaire to make myself tired. I tell myself I’ll just play until I win and then I’ll stop. But then I win the second or third game I play and think okay, I’ll play until I beat a certain time. All of the sudden an hour has passed and I’m still playing Solitaire! So it goes with Fortnite- my husband is “just going to play one or two battles” and two hours later I’m begging him to get off the couch! The easiest way to combat excessive gaming is to set time limits or battle limits, whichever you choose. You can tell your child they get three battles, win or lose, and that’s it. Or you can simply set a timer for a fixed amount of time- say, an hour- and then when the time is up, pull the plug.
Monitor the Game: When I asked a friend whose son loves Fortnite what rules she has surrounding the game, she told me her biggest rule is that he can only play it at her house. She told me early on in her son’s gaming days he was playing at a friend’s house, and, while he had his chat turned off, his friend’s chat was not disabled, allowing him to hear what he described as “tons and tons of curse words” to her, and that was the first and last time he was allowed to play the game anywhere but home. Only allowing him to game at home means my friend controls the rules her son abides by.
What Fortnite rules do you have at your house?