Fortnite – should kids (be allowed to) play it??

Playing on the tablet; Image: Internet-ABC

Playing on the tablet; Image: Internet-ABC

When children and adolescents learn about "Fortnite they usually mean the game "Fortnite Battle Royale". There are versions for PC and consoles, but also for mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets.

The game idea is quickly told: It’s about your own survival – and only the last survivor wins. The player lands on an island with a parachute. Equipped with an axe he searches for raw materials like wood or stones. It is important not to get caught by the other players, because everyone plays against everyone else. Up to 100 players compete against each other here to bowl each other out of the game: i.e. to eliminate, to shoot.

From what age is Fortnite suitable?

Officially, the game has the age rating "from 12 years" (USK 12). But: This information is not an age recommendation! It only shows that from 12 years of age, the use is harmless from a youth protection point of view. In the case of Fortnite, this means that the game should not disturb children over the age of 12. And indeed there is no blood in the game – in spite of the shooting – and the whole thing looks more like a comic strip.

However, it is no secret that many do not adhere to the age rating of the USK: Even elementary school students play Fortnite, as long as they have a smartphone or a game console.

Apart from the aspect of "youth protection and violence" However, parents should bear in mind that the game can also overtax younger children considerably in terms of the tasks involved. Those who keep trying to win (i.e., being the last to "finish") and keep failing are frustrated – especially when friends are allowed to play much longer and thus have more successes to show for it. Some children react aggressively.

For these reasons, some media educators recommend a minimum age of 14.

. so ban?

Above are reasons not to let children under 12 play Fortnite. Some parents also fundamentally disagree with the gameplay (shooting others to survive yourself) or find Fortnite too cruel or warlike.

And yes, parents are also allowed to ban something if they think it can harm the child’s development. But this should be explained to the daughter or son in a calm conversation. It may also help to sit down with the parents of the friends at an early stage and agree on a joint approach.

Use child safety locks

A little more safety is offered by the quite easy to make settings for parental control. The Internet ABC explains how this works here:

How long should children be allowed to play on the screen?

When children are enthusiastic about a game, they often can’t find an end to it. In Fortnite, this danger is clear to see: One round, if you get far, takes approx. 40 minutes. And it’s clear: If the player has almost made it to the end, he wants to try it again right away.

A fixed time limit should be set to prevent excessive use, as is necessary with all computer games. Children often can not regulate themselves alone. They need parents who also control the given playing times.

You want to know how much time the offspring should be allowed to spend in front of the screen (TV, console, computer and smartphone) altogether?

Why do kids play Fortnite?? What fascinates them?

The game is simply exciting and provides plenty of adrenaline: can I hide well from others? Do I develop clever strategies to escape from others? Am I good enough to make it to the end?

Another incentive is that they can play together with friends. Competing against real players is also more appealing than working your way through computer opponents. The futuristic design and fairly simple task allow for repeated playthroughs, trying out different tactics. No two rounds are the same.

Why is the game free?

To achieve the highest possible number of users in a game, the hurdle must be extremely low. The principle of "free-to-play" is helpful for this: nothing has to be paid for.

Free games with a certain coolness factor quickly find a huge following via word of mouth. Actually, there’s always one game in waves that’s particularly hot. It used to be Clash of Clans, then "Pokemon Go.

Fortnite joins the ranks effortlessly. Only free is not always free. While no one needs to buy anything to progress at all or faster in the game. But many kids and teens want their heroes to have hip "skins" (clothes and more) – and these cost money, which, as I said, the players obviously also like to spend on them.

Understanding Fortnite – understanding the child!

If parents have decided to let their own child play Fortnite, the first thing you should do is sit down with them: Explain your fears to your child. Agree to play the game on a trial basis first. Observe during this time:

  • Is there constant arguing about the length of gameplay?
  • Is my child afraid in certain situations, i.e. not just a tension appropriate to the game??
  • Does my child tend not to be able to stop?

Don’t worry: no one needs to play Fortnite in person to grasp the game’s mechanics. But it can’t hurt to have your daughter or son explain both the goal of the game and its mechanics to you. In the process, many questions can be asked. In the end, rules should be established in the family: Everyone should know what is allowed and what is not.

To avoid misunderstandings: This is less about developing an understanding of the game, and more about the child or teenager.

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