Dad helping his son fix a bicycle tire.

How to Keep Your Child from Becoming Obsessed with Fortnite

by Screen Time Team on 15/05/2019
Three teens sitting on a couch with a game controller.

What Is Fortnite?

There are three “modes” in Fortnite that are really entirely separate games. “Save the World” is a cooperative “shooter-survival” mode where players team up to gather resources, build a fort, and keep zombies out of it. “Creative” is similar to “Minecraft” and other games, where kids simply build things in the world, sort of an online Lego set. “Battle Royale” is the most popular mode, where players have to search the world map for powerups and weapons to defeat each other, while collecting resources to build structures to hinder other players or help themselves. Battle Royale is also free to play.

The game regularly introduces quirks into its world, such as volcanoes exploding or new, strange structures appearing. It strives for a wacky tone with silly weapons, outfits, and “emotes,” dance moves players can perform at the push of a button. It’s also an easy game to understand and fun to play; even if you get knocked out of the game, you can still participate and watch other players. Fortnite is also available on all major gaming platforms as well as Android and iOS.

Dad helping his teen son fix a tire on his bicycle.

What Are Some Concerns Around Fortnite?

There are two concerns with the game. The first is the same as any other video game; kids can become so engrossed in it, other personal pursuits and demands on their time fall to the wayside. The second is that the “free” mode is supported by in-game purchases. None of the items impact gameplay; they’re strictly cosmetic, such as emotes or new outfits for your character. But they can be expensive, and reports of surprise bills popping up have become more common as the game catches on.

How Do I Help My Kids Balance Fortnite And The Rest Of Their Lives?

First, talk to them about balance. One of the key ways of getting people to understand a behavior is unhealthy is to teach them to see it in the context of the rest of their lives, and the earlier kids learn that doing homework and chores first will reduce their stress and keep their lives balanced, the better.

Secondly, lay down some rules about screens and gaming in general. What these rules will be depends on the family, but some common ones include no games after bedtime, no games before school, and so on. When setting up the rules, be sure kids understand the why behind them as well as what they’re expected to do. This won’t keep children from pushing back, of course, but it may help.

Finally, use parental control apps, your device’s parents settings, and the game’s parental settings to enforce the rules. These apps will let you set schedules, block apps at certain times, uninstall them from devices, set timers for how long an app can be used during a given 24-hour period, and more. These are especially useful for phones and tablets. Make sure to deactivate in-app purchases just as a matter of course. To learn more about how Screen Time parental controls can help keep kids’ lives in balance, try it for free.

Join the conversation