WNY Family Magazine October 2018 - Page 49

Is Fortnite violent? In my opinion, the violence in Fortnite is minimal. The game revolves around gathering weapons and shooting the opposing players, so there is some level of violence, but the vibrant, color- ful, cartoon feel to the game sets it apart from games like Call of Duty. The vio- lence contains no blood. Eliminating an opponent is often celebrated by goofy, light-hearted dances called emotes. What Should I Be Concerned About? Three themes emerged when re- searching parenting concerns related to Fortnite. The game connects up to 100 players from around the world for each match. Gamers have few options for controlling who they are playing with. Players can communicate through a voice chat, as well as an onscreen text chat. These communication channels are unmoderated so profanity can be an issue. Strangers chatting with your child is another major red flag. The voice and text chat are options that can be turned off in the game settings. You may want to consider disabling these features de- pending on the age of your game. Addiction was the second concern raised by parents. The game’s design uses rewards to encourage gamers to play at least a few matches every day. This is a common tactic in the gaming community. The instant gratification players receive by gaining a tier, pick- ing up a new skin, or earning a Victory Royale can be compared to the short- term high felt from taking drugs. Re- search studies in recent years led the World Health Organization to declare “video game addiction” an official disorder at their annual conference in January 2018. Younger players run the risk of becoming addicted to the game. Properly enforced time limits along with parental supervision can be used to avoid this in your household. The final common theme was un- intentional or uncontrolled spending. Many parents shared reports of un- authorized Fortnite purchases. Some of these were innocent transactions in which the gamer did not understand the consequences of clicking purchase. Other stories were not as innocent. In some cases, the child knowingly chose the instant gratification from the game over the potential future repercus- sions of their actions. This is one of the many symptoms associated with video game addiction. All the major gaming systems, as well as smartphones, have controls in place to avoid situations like this, but if you don’t periodically check your settings, unwanted purchases can occur. Opportunities with Fortnite Fortnite provides parents with a fantastic opportunity to get children talking about what’s going on in their world. Here are some questions parents can use as conversation starters: ● What’s your coolest skin? Is there one you really want but don’t have yet? ● What’s your favorite mode? Why do you like that one? ● Do you have a preferred weap- on? Can you show it to me? ● What tier are you? ● How many Victory Royales do you have? ● Who is your favorite friend to play with online? ● Would you show me how to play? Like it or not, Fortnite is an inte- gral part of adolescent culture right now. Take advantage of that. Use the information above to make a connec- tion with your young adult and get your own Victory Royale! Mike Daugherty is a husband, fa- ther of three young children, author, speaker, Google Innovator, and pos- sible Starbucks addict. He is a certified educational technology leader who has served in a variety of roles through his eighteen-year career in public educa- tion. Currently, Mike is the Director of Technology for the Chagrin Falls Ex- empted Village School district in North- east Ohio. As an IT director he has developed creative, well thought out so- lutions that positively impact teaching and learning. October 2018 WNY Family 49