How to keep your children safe whilst playing Fortnite?
You are probably familiar with one of the most popular online game called Fortnite. In its simplest form, Fortnite is a shooting and killing game. The purpose is to literally survive by killing other players - be the last person standing and you’re declared the winner. In order to win, players need to build infrastructure to protect themselves and accumulate additional weapons to attack. It includes Battle Royale, where players do not have to pay to play. In Battle Royale, 100 players compete against each other to be the last person standing in player vs player (PVP) combat. Users play against different people around the world, and they can interact and talk through the chat mode.
There is no age limit in order to access the game and we have seen an increase in students playing and talking about the game. Many parents are concerned about the “obsessive nature” of the game and the impact it is having on their children – particularly as the holidays are coming up parents will be worried about their child being “glued” to the game.
What do parents need to look out for?
- Chatting to strangers
- Being abusive towards, or receiving abuse from, other people
- Sharing personal information
- In game purchases – not free
- Animated violence
Some practical tips that will prevent your child’s health and wellbeing from being compromised.
- Have an open and honest conversation with your child. It’s important to involve yourself in your child’s online life and a simple and effective way to do this is by talking to them about it. Try to maintain an open dialogue with your child and find opportunities to talk to them about what they love to do online. Parents can help children access the amazing resources the internet has to offer whilst keeping them safe online at the same time.
- Know how to make a report. On Fortnite you can report players who are underage or are behaving inappropriately by using the in-game feedback tool located in the game Main Menu. You can also make a report by emailing the creators of Fortnite.
- Switch off the voice chat system in the game to avoid any inappropriate conversations.
- The text messaging system can’t be turned off in the games. Parents need to talk to their children about the messages they are receiving and the potential risks of talking to strangers online, and what to do when they receive messages they are not comfortable with.
- Set limits and monitor how many matches are being played. Encourage your child to show independence in switching off by themselves. For example, restrict access on school nights and playing no more than an hour a day on weekends.
- And if your child totally insists on playing the game, take him/her out to do a different activity. Prioritise the real world above the world of Fortnite!
- Encourage transparency by ensuring your child plays in an area where you can see and monitor the screen.
- If someone else is taking care of your child like a family member/nanny – encourage them to ensure the above boundaries and limits are set.
BIS Abu Dhabi Counselling Team