If you or anyone you know is remotely into the world of gaming, you have most likely heard the name Fortnite. This is by far one of the most popular games right now and here is a little insight into what it is all about and why teens love it.
Fortnite has two modes — one is a PVE (player versus environment) where the player, either by themselves or with friends, builds a defensive fortress and fights waves of monsters until the timer runs out to move to the next round.
The second mode, Fortnite Battle Royale, is a PVP (player versus player) for survival and it is all the rage right now. In this mode, players can play by themselves against other players or play with a team of players made up either of random players or their friends. These teams are known as Duos (two people) or Squads (four people). The object of this mode, and how you win, is to survive to the very end. Winning gives you in-game currency — prizes you can redeem to get better cosmetic gear. There are also some microtransactions in the game where you can pay real money to get better-looking items, however, they have no effect in the game in terms of performance.
The game begins with players flying in a school bus that they must jump off of onto an island in the best location to land to collect items such as weapons, usually guns, and boosters, things like medic packs and other various items. In order to get higher on the scoreboard, players kill and defeat other players to collect their loot to help their team. While players are on the island, a circle of poisonous clouds circle the island and continue to close in forcing the players into a tighter space so that they must confront each other.
This game is a lot of fun and is a great way for teens to interact with their friends who are playing and other people who choose to watch them play via stream sites — YouTube Gaming, Twitch, Mixer, and Facebook. It provides an online social context for friends to play with each other and meet new players.
The way that the game is played can help with hand-eye coordination and reflexes. It is also cartoon based so the violence is not as extreme as other games with the same T (Teen) rating. There is also the possibility that if a person is really good at the game and streams themselves playing it or makes videos about the way he or she plays, it could lead to a monetized career in gaming.
Just like in all other media situations, as parents, you must decide if your child is mature enough to play a T (Teen) rated video game. It is important to view the video game, maybe play it yourself, before letting your teen play in order to make an informed decision if you want your son or daughter to be playing this game.
This game does desensitize violence in a similar manner to action movies or TV shows where people shoot and kill each other. The violence in the game is similar to that of a Marvel Superhero movie, but since it is all cartoon the violence does not seem as extreme. Keep in mind though that the premise of the game is to survive and to do so it is highly encouraged to kill and defeat the other players in order to win.
Since the game is competitive in nature it can also lead to more verbal aggression and teens may say mean or hurtful things to other players or their friends. This toxic behavior could cause a player to have a shorter temper. Again keep in mind that this is similar to the competitive nature of any sport in person which can also lead to verbal aggression or short tempers. It is more important for your teen to learn self-control in face of competition than to simply tell them not to play.
Just like any other social media platform, it is important that your teens know how to be safe when connecting with people outside of who they know in real life. It is also important to monitor the amount of time your teen spends gaming, and on screens in general, as higher rates of screen time and less face to face interaction with peers has been linked to higher rates of anxiety and depression.
Why Teens Love Fortnite
The Fortnite Battle Royale PVP game mode is free to play on all platforms so anyone can jump in and play with their friends. There are also really popular social media stars who are playing it and more recently big Hollywood names are starting to play — for example, Drake and other famous people have created a squad.
The numbers show that it is hugely popular — Fortnite broke the most concurrent live stream numbers with 635,000 people watching and a few days later a group of YouTubers were able to pull more than 1.1 million concurrent viewers. The popularity of this game is bringing in all ages with adolescents, teens, college students, and adults.
This game is incredibly popular and if you have a teen, whether or not he or she is into gaming, he or she has most likely heard about Fortnite. It is important as a parent to be informed about the game, its positives, and negatives, and to also decide for yourself whether or not you want your teens to be playing. Consider too playing the game yourself or watching your teen play, it can provide not only a time for bonding but also for you to have teachable moments about online safety, good sportsmanship, and the role that screens play in our lives and in their friendships.