How Fortnite is too much for the kids?



Everything to know about ‘Fortnite’

‘Fortnite’ has become a cultural phenomenon, and mega-hit video game developer Epic Games, with 125 million players around the world. What is it that makes this game so hugely popular, and how did it come this far?

Fortnite Cheat Sheet: What Parents Need To Know

  • Parents see Fortnite as a safe middle ground between games like Minecraft and Call of Duty.
  • But many children have a hard time putting Fortnite and play through the night, and a number of teenagers have been brought to psychologists, because their school performance has dipped and their interest in social activities decreased.
  • “Fortnite” games are short — usually less than 20 to 25 minutes. So after getting close to winning, it is very tempting to try it again, similar to a slot machine.
  • In general, a healthy gaming diet would not be more than 40 minutes a night on school nights and not more than an hour of a day in the weekend.

A child psychologist and a father, Randy Kulman is no stranger to video games popular with the children. But a few months ago in his office, after four teenagers in a row, called “Fortnite,” he started wondering whether he was dealing with something new this time.

In the following weeks, more and more children and their concerned parents proved to be his inspiration, and so also the numbers. “Fortnite: Battle Royale” is indeed the most popular game in the world at this time. The fast-paced survival game, in which 100 players on a colorful island and fight until only one is left, has more than 40 million active monthly players, and the videos are the most viewed on YouTube and streaming platform on to the tracks.

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Compared with the in the New Yorker to Beatlemania and the viral Tide Pod challenge, “Fortnite” has become a social phenomenon engulfing children and adults, including the Major League Baseball players, which you may have seen to break in the game to dance (the so-called “emotes”) on the field.

Child psychologists are seeing a version of this frenzy and playing into their offices. “It’s quite the phenomenon among the children in my practice,” said Kulman, who is the clinical director of South County Child and Family Consultants in Wakefield, Rhode Island.

Their patients, Kulman and other psychologists described, are obsessed with the game, and some have played a few thousand times. Many have a hard time attracting and play through the night, hidden from their parents ― some even throw violent tantrums when parents have their console away. A number of teenagers have brought psychologists, because their school performance has dipped and their interest in social activities in the real world is decreased.

All these behaviors are signs of a problematic relationship with video gaming, driving, parents, and teachers to ask or they lose the children to “Fortnite.” But kids’ obsession with video games has a history: As is Fortnite just a moment, or is it more addictive than the previous games?

Although “Fortnite” is immensely popular, some psychologists note the obsessive behavior linked are nothing new.

“I see a similar pattern in the patients in my practice,” said Emily Gifford, a clinical psychologist in Westchester, New York. A number of her “Fortnite”-obsessed with patients struggling with managing their time and are constantly fighting with their parents over when they are back in the game. “That said, I’m not sure that I can say that, statistically speaking, I’m seeing the pattern with a higher frequency or a sense of urgency than I have with other video games that came before it.”

Still, there are several qualities “Fortnite” that may have led to a great popularity, the experts say.

In “Fortnite,” players scavenging for weapons and resources, structures, and defeating other players. By combining elements of shooter games and building games such as “Minecraft” “Fortnite” is able to attract the players with a wide range of interests.

“Taking what I hear from my patients, ‘Fortnite’ seems to fill a void in the current video game selection,” Gifford said. “There was on one side of the continuum, “Minecraft”, and, on the other hand, ‘Call of Duty.’ ‘Fortnite’ is a third-person shooter game with a social component, along with building and strategizing.”

These features, as well as a cartoon-like style of violent moments are less shocking, “Fortnite” to make it more attractive for parents, who must decide which games their children can play. “It seems to offer a middle ground, perhaps where parents feel more comfortable to say OK, rather than drawing a hard line in the sand over a more aggressive game,” Gifford said.

And once inside, in the world of ‘ Fortnite,” it’s easy to want to continue. In contrast to a progression-style games that follow a pre-determined storyline, “Fortnite” is designed in the “sandbox” style, allowing players to roam freely and explore every corner of an open virtual world. “The sandbox games tend to go children for longer and longer periods of time,” Kulman said. “And in ‘Fortnite,’ if you lose, you can just come back in.”

“Fortnite” games also include the chance, and they are short — usually less than 20 to 25 minutes. So after getting close to winning, it is very tempting to try it again, similar to the play of a casino slot machine. This is yet another feature of the game, which makes it difficult to put down, Kulman said.

While some children manage to find a balance between video games and other activities, others may need help. “Game addiction is not a formal diagnosis. However, children and young people with certain diagnoses or personality styles might find it harder to get their time,” Gifford said.

In general, a healthy gaming diet would not be more than 40 minutes a night on school nights and not more than an hour of a day in the weekend, ” said Dr. Leonard Sax, a family doctor and a psychologist in Exton (Pennsylvania), and author of “Boys Adrift” (Basic Books, 2016) and “The Collapse of Parenthood” (Basic Books, 2017).

“That adds up to 6 hours per week. If you get 6 or less hours to play games, research suggests that it does not affect performance at school or in the real world of relationships, ” Sax said. “But if you spend more, and there are many people who play 20 hours per week, then you’re more likely to see an impact.”

Some parents seem to be more forgiving with “Fortnite” in comparison with other options, because the game seems to address different mental skills, such as organisation, planning and quick responses. But Kulman noted that skills improve in a game would not automatically transfer to the real world, at least not without the accompaniment of the children to identify the skills and learn where they are applicable to real-life situations.

Also the option to get together with a handful of other players requires teamwork and cooperation — an attractive idea for the parents. But the cooperation in the game is unlikely to lead to a better real-life social skills.

“Parents say:” My child is learning to work together, this is not a useful skill?’ The short answer is, ” No, it’s not,'” Sax said. “Cooperation in the real world, it is about listening to your colleague, make eye contact, understand what they are trying to say and creative work together.”

In contrast, the cooperation in “Fortnite” is focused on a narrow goal, that is to defeat others. “The killing of people is not essentially a social skill,” Sax said.

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