PARENTING: Controlling the Fortnite fever

22 August 2018

Anyone else out there feeling the pressures of Fortnite?

One of the biggest parenting challenges at the moment is being caused by the popular video game Fortnite. On any given day at primary schools everywhere, parents are complaining to each other and teachers alike about Fortnite and how they are struggling to get their kids off the game. They are worrying about the time their kids are spending on the game and the uncharacteristic behaviours their children are starting to present.

Fortnite is a free multiplayer shooter game, where you kill people and the aim is to collect weapons and resources and be the last one standing. The game is available on all devices, iPhone, iPad, PC as well as video game consoles. Kids can play it anywhere, while chatting with friends or random people they meet on line.

The brain of a child in primary school is still developing and by playing video games such as Fortnite, which has a similar rush of alcohol or drugs, kids are developing addictions which parents are finding hard to control.

There is the argument that parents are in control and should be able to say no or take away the game when they feel they need to, however, what happens when the parents start to lose that control and become overwhelmed by the situation? It has been reported that kids are playing Fortnite for hours a day, sometimes well into the night. Some kids wait for their parents to fall asleep and then sneak off to play throughout the night, which is causing them to fall asleep in class and their grades to drop due to the exhaustion.

WHO classifies gaming as an official mental disorder.

Gaming disorder is defined as a pattern of gaming behaviour (“digital-gaming” or “video-gaming”) characterised by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.

For gaming disorder to be diagnosed, the individual must:

  1. The behaviour pattern must be of sufficient severity to result in significant impairment in personal, family, social, educational, occupational or other important areas of functioning
  2. The behaviour would normally have been evident for at least 12 months.

Tips for parents

  • Know what type of game you are allowing your child to play. If you don’t understand the ins and outs of the game, then you won’t know what your child is truly being exposed to.
  • Create boundaries and time limits around video games and stick to them. Some parents allow their children to play after homework and chores have been done while others only let their child play on the weekends. Try and limit to one hour at a time with a non-screentime break.
  • Keep devices within viewing distance. Never allow your child to have any gaming devices in their bedroom. For those kids who wait for their parents to go to sleep to play, turn the devices off and put them away, out of reach of your child. If your child doesn’t have access, they won’t be able to play.
  • Explain to your child that video games are not real life. Consistently remind them. Help them to understand what they see and experience in the gaming world doesn’t happen in real life.
  • Watch for changes in behaviour, if your child becomes emotional or starts demonstrating aggressive behaviour, take the game away. If you are concerned with your childs mental health, please visit your GP.

 

Written by

Amardy Baucke / Deputy Editor

Amardy is a Family and Children's Mindset Coach, and Deputy Editor for Kids on the Coast/Kids in the City. Her goal is to inspire people to live a healthy wholesome lifestyle.

Living on the sunny Gold Coast Amardy is a dedicated wife and mother of three beautiful children. amardy.com

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