Have your kids jumped on the Battle Bus? Fortnite is one of the most popular games among middle-schoolers and tweens. Ranker lists it as the third most popular video game—behind Minecraft (#1) and Grand Theft Auto V (#2).
Kids’ online safety advocate site, Common Sense Media, notes a few problems with the game, however. While the game helps kids learn how to work as a team, the violence of Fortnite might be a problem.
Just how violent is Fortnite? The object of the game is survival, and players have to kill other players. The kills involve a variety of weapons, including shotguns, assault rifles, pistols and SMGs. The winner of the battle is the victor and players can select a celebratory dance after the battle.
Some parents are lenient when it comes to violence in game play, but others don’t want their kids (or teens) engaging in violence in any form.
Choosing whether or not your child can play Fortnite is a family decision. If you’re on the fence about Fortnite, check out our quick Parents’ Guide to Fortnite.
Who Should Play?
The game holds a T for Teen rating because of the violence of the game. This means that the game is recommended for teens.
Fortnite is incredibly popular with middle school kids, and many of them likely haven’t hit their teens. Allowing younger kids to play Fortnite is entirely up to parents. Again, though, the rating deems Fortnite most appropriate for teens.
Who’s on My Child’s Team?
There are many ways to play Fortnite. Players can team up with a friend and play “Duos.” They can team up with multiple friends and create a larger team, or they can be paired with other random players.
Parents are typically most comfortable when kids game with friends. With Fortnite, though, if friends aren’t online, kids may be teamed up with random players. This gets a little scary, because players communicate in the game.
Some players may use inappropriate language, and they may be much older or more mature than your child. Parents need to be extremely careful about in-game communication.
Like most games, Fortnite allows for players to report misconduct by other players. However, parents need to be diligent when younger kids play Fortnite with unknown team members.
The best advice is to ensure that your child’s friends are online when they want to play. For safety purposes, create family rules related to Fortnite that stipulate that the game can only be played with friends.
Choose to Get Creative
Parents may wish for their child not to battle at all. In that case, the creative side of Fortnite may be an option.
Creative lets kids build their own Fortnite island. Some players can land their new world on the Fortnite map, according to Epic Games’ site. Be aware, though, that players can still grab guns in their own world. Creative doesn’t eliminate all the violence.
The Creative side of Fortnite, though, is a great option for kids who want an outlet to imagine a new world. Plus, the reward to possibly be featured allows them to have ownership of their creation.
Fortnite Parental Controls
Parents who are really anxious about Fortnite can choose to utilize parental controls on the game. Per Epic Games, parents need to set up a PIN to enable parental controls.
Epic Games allows parents to control multiple aspects of the game. According to Epic Games, parents can hide certain players from view (“Hide non-squad members”), make their child’s name only visible to “squad members,” block inappropriate language, turn off friend requests and even turn off in-game communications.
Epic Games also lets parents have the option to see a report about weekly game play. This can help parents see just how much time their child has spent devoted to Fortnite.
Utilizing Epic’s parental controls helps parents take some of the worry out of their child gaming on Fortnite. The controls, though, don’t do anything to alter the actual game…or make the game less violent. Again, parents need to set those parameters.
Other Parental Controls
Not a fan of Fortnite? Parents can choose to block the app via parental control software. Apple’s app store can be set up to require a password for all downloads, and parents can control game downloads via this function.
For more control, though, parents can use Screentime Labs to control app downloads or to monitor communications kids have with friends. Screentime Labs also lets parents control how long their kids spend online and on games. Set time limits and set priorities for homework, dinner or bedtime. An instant pause button lets parents cut off the action and encourage kids to stop playing.
Before parents install any software on a child’s device, though, they need to have a conversation about the importance of parental control software. We recommend telling your kids before installing the software. Always be open and honest with kids about why the software is being installed and how it will be used.
Parental control software shouldn’t be a spy-cam type device for parents; the software is meant to keep kids safe online.
Should Your Child Play Fortnite?
So should your child play Fortnite?
That’s an individual decision that parents need to decide for themselves. Epic Games includes parental controls for Fortnite that give parents a bit of control over what their child can do or see in the game. However, the parental control features won’t tone down the violence of Fortnite.
Ultimately, though, whether or not a child can play Fortnite depends on your parenting style and your child’s maturity. The game is rated T for Teen and some parents may find the violence to be a bit too gruesome for their kids. Remember, the game is all about survival and players kill other players.
The games you choose to allow your child to download and play should be based on your family’s own rules and preferences. Playing a game should not be about popularity. Content—not fandom or fads—should be the deciding factor on whether or not a game is a good choice for your child.