Should I Let My Kid Play Fortnite? (Parents Guide)
Have you heard of Fornite? Specifically Fornite: Battle Royale? If you’ve got a tween or teen, then you’ve probably heard of it because it is crazy popular right now… in fact, it’s as viral (or more so) as Minecraft was.
As a parent, I wondered if it was OK to let my kids play Fortnite. I did some digging and playing, and this is my Fortnite parents’ guide, to help you decide if you’re OK with your kid playing Fortnite too.
This game has seemingly dropped out of the sky (for those that have played before, do you see what I did there?) to have become a wildly popular game that attracts over 40 million players and has broken countless records. For instance, it broke records recently by having almost 3.5 million people playing the game at the same time, it has broken streaming and views records for Twitch and Youtube as well.
It has also hit the news recently that a popular Fornite Streamer is earning a half-million dollars per month, by streaming his Fornite Battles. This very short list of fun facts should tell you just how popular this game is.
Now that you know how popular it is, you can understand why your kids are always asking to play it. So, should you let your kids play Fortnite? I know that this question is on a lot of parents minds lately, so I decided to do a little digging into it (and yeah, I played a round or two). I know I wanted the answer to this question myself before I let my kids sit in front of the screen to play it.
What exactly is Fortnite: Battle Royale?
I have heard of Fornite being described as “Minecraft meets The Hunger Games.” Okay, I can see that in the sense that there is a lot of building and resource mining that happens in this game and it is essentially a survival game between you and 99 other players online.
Players must loot what they can in order to last the longest with the last player standing getting the “Victory Royale” screen at the end. Throughout their game, players work to collect tools and weapons that will help them build structures and fight off their opponents, while also trying to outrun a storm that can kill them as well.
Is there violence in Fortnite: Battle Royale?
Well, yes and no. There are a lot of guns in Fornite, your goal is to get the best weapons out there to help you in battle. Each gun causes a different amount of damage to your opponent. That said, there is no blood and gore in this game. You shoot your opponent and try to take away their “shield” and “health” bar and once their health bar is on 0%, they simply disappear. The cartoonish character and bloodless violence make it much more acceptable for many parents when it comes to letting their children play.
Should I let my kid play Fortnite? Is Fornite bad for kids?
Whether or not you let your child play Fortnite is 100% up to you as a parent. Again, do note that the weapons and violence are there but not in the bloody, gruesome way that you might see in other video games.
Additionally, the open chat feature allows kids to receive communication from other players, which often means that they can see language that you may deem inappropriate. You can turn this feature off to prevent this from happening.
If you are still trying to decide, here is a Fornite pros and cons list for those parents considering whether or not to let their kids play:
Pros of Fortnite
Here’s why Fornite is good for kids:
- Builds thinking skills. To be successful in this game you need to learn to think fast.
- Teamwork. Squad and Duo modes allow you to play with friends, which builds teamwork skills.
- Socialization. Again, squad and duo modes allow you to play with friends, which is great for socialization.
- Short time frame. Each game takes 20 minutes or less (depending on how long you last). This short time frame keeps screen times at a minimum, assuming you don’t continually say yes to “one more round”.
- It’s free. Fortnite has several game modes, but the wildly popular Battle Royale mode is free to play.
Cons of Fortnite
Here are some reasons why Fornite is bad for kids:
- The violence is there. As I mentioned before, there are weapons and violence in this game. I suggest that you play the game yourself or watch a round being played to see if you are okay with the level of violence in it.
- Open chat feature. The open chat feature, like any other online chat room, can be dangerous and the kids can be exposed to inappropriate language with it. Again, I always turn this feature off on games that my kids play, just to be safe.
- In-app purchases. If you have a credit card connected to your gaming accounts, it is wise to put a parental block on so that your kids can’t purchase new “skins” and tools. These things can add up quick! I actually don’t mind that there are things for them to buy. I make my kids pay for these things on their own. When there are things they want, they work harder to earn it!
- It can be addicting. With short round times and exciting gameplay, there are a lot of kids addicted to Fornite. However, as long as you limit your kids’ screen time this should be no problem.
- You won’t stop hearing about it. I mean, ever. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a little bit, but if you have pre-teens or teens at home, you know what I am saying.
Fortnite Parents’ Guide Recap
Here’s what I think about kids and technology. Technology, gaming, social media, smartphones, iPads… none of that stuff is going to go away. As a parent, I choose to educate myself and make decisions that allow my child to experience and learn how to use these things, while they are still at home. I definitely set restrictions, and I think it is very important to teach kids moderation with their screen time.
If my kid is excited to play a game, such as Fortnite, I will allow them to play. I use gaming and electronics as a leveraging tool. If grades are dropping, this privilege is taken away for a time. If home responsibilities aren’t getting done, they lose this privilege. Having my kid excited about something means I can keep them motivated to accomplish goals, be responsible, and get decent grades.
As far as Fortnite goes, the pros outweigh the cons in my opinion. My 14-year-old son plays with his friends (although they are all at their own homes) through his gaming headset. They work together as a team, they are socializing, and I know where my kid is and what he’s doing. Not letting him play will remove him from this social experience and will demotivate him.
I choose to “pick my battles”, and as far as Fornite goes, it gets a thumbs up from me.
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