The whole world in fortnite fever

Allow, ban, limit? Tips for parents who are not yet familiar with the video game

Parents look over their child's shoulder while the latter plays Fortnite

The colorful shooter game "Fortnite – Battle Royale" has experienced a real hype in 2018. As popular as it is with the youth, parents are concerned about Fortnite. Before you completely forbid your offspring to play, you should get to know the game.

Even if you don’t have a Playstation or a gaming PC at home, you’ve certainly come into contact with the game Fortnite in some way over the past year – because pop culture references are everywhere, often in the form of gestures and dances. The Floss Dance, whose name alludes to the movement involved in flossing, took social media by storm with many imitators. French soccer star Antoine Griezmann’s goal celebration at the 2018 World Cup was also a tribute to the Fortnite phenomenon.

Teenagers sit in front of computers

Today, children usually no longer sit alone in front of the console, but are connected to each other via chat and headset.

Remains the Fortnite hype?

Perhaps you thought that the comic shooter Fortnite will quickly disappear into oblivion by itself and forgotten by the kids? It doesn’t look like it (yet), because Fortnite’s Battle Royale mode is popular in so many countries and age groups that Fortnite is more of an institution than a short-lived hype: there are 40 million active players worldwide. So it’s worth taking a (closer) look at the game once in a while.

Of course, since the game falls into the "shooter" category, Fortnite is first a "shooter game" for parents with no affinity for video games – albeit one that many kids play. While the game mode "Save the world" has been approved by it from 12 years, the Entertainment Software Self-Regulation (USK) has not explicitly tested the online mode of Battle Royale. The recommendation "from 16 years" only appears in the Nintendo store, from the European age rating body PEGI Fortnite – Battle Royale was approved for children from 12 years old.

Ideally, you play it yourself once, then you can decide whether your child can already handle the action well or is overwhelmed with the game. You probably wouldn’t be the first (and, of course, not the only) adult to discover that you like playing Fortnite yourself in the process.

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What is Fortnite: Battle Royale all about??

In Fortnite – Battle Royale, 100 randomly selected players parachute over an island with a varied, changing landscape. There is a Chinese pagoda, a historic old town, an old mine, a scrap yard, a meteorite crater, a racetrack, many hills, mountains and ziplines with which you can jet from A to B. You can also use planes and quads to get around the island. You also have to do this, because a storm is coming up, which increasingly narrows your own movement radius. You can find various weapons on the way, from stink bombs to sniper rifles, and you can "harvest" wood, stone and metal with a pickaxe to be able to build a protective shelter from it at any time. There are solo, duo, team play modes, ever-changing special modes, and a creative meadow where you just build but don’t shoot – depending on the mode, the last survivor or the team left at the end wins.

Children look at their cell phones

Fortnite – Battle Royale is also playable on the smartphone or tablet.

The gameplay focuses on exploring the landscape and buildings, collecting weapons and resources, and eliminating enemies. Tactical approach, nimble fingers and quick reactions are required. A round of Fortnite takes about 5 to 25 minutes depending on the mode, settings and talent. Since you always have to be on the lookout for other players in the game, it gets especially rough later in the game, when the storm pulls the circle tighter and tighter. "One more game and then straight to bed" is not a suitable pedagogical compromise, because Fortnite wakes you up.

Does Fortnite cost money?

The "Battle Royal" mode is free of charge. You can play it on Playstation 4, Xbox One and PC, but also on the iPhone, iPad and Android phone. The question "Does Fortnite cost money??" can not be denied completely, however, because you can buy so-called "V-Bucks", which cost real money, and thus acquire game equipment. This includes skins that determine the appearance, various harvesting equipment and parachute variants to visually customize the game character. Even battle passes, gestures, moves and dances are available for money. Talk to your child to make sure they understand that acquiring these V-Bucks costs money. Especially once the credit card information of the parents is stored, this is quickly forgotten by young people.

On the other hand, Fortnite can also bring in money: It entices with a million dollars in prize money per tournament – $100 million is what the Fortnite makers from Epic Games want to pay out in total in the 2018/2019 competition season. And theoretically anyone can join in.

Is Fortnite questionable or even dangerous?

Fortnite – Battle Royale is released in Germany from 12 years of age. Even if as a "shooter" it is not free of virtual depiction of violence, the Fortnite world in the squeaky comic style is far from a realistic representation. A most lifelike game world was also not the goal of the developers at all. There is no blood or dead bodies here: Those who are devastatingly hit simply disappear from the playing area or are revived via "respawning".

If your child is always begging to play Fortnite, if he gets angry because he is not allowed to play, but also gets angry when he loses in the game, you should not simply resort to a ban, but look at your child’s behavior and find a regulation that is acceptable to everyone.

Playing along with Fortnite and setting it appropriately

Fortnite is interactive. Many children and young people play it in team mode and communicate with their teammates via chat in writing or via a headset. They coordinate their activities and play in groups, not alone in front of a computer or game console. Chat is also a possible loophole for risks: Your child should – generally and so also here – know how to react when approached by strangers. The chat in Fortnite can be deactivated. Inappropriate contact attempts, but also unfair behavior in the game can be reported via the menu. So feel free to take a closer look at the settings.

Parents and child sit on the couch with controllers

Try to understand your child. Why not play a round?

At what point is Fortnite questionable?

If you agree on clear rules with children, you don’t have to negotiate frameworks over and over again, you create clarity and structure. "First the homework, then the game" could be a requirement. At the latest when Fortnite enthusiasm gets so out of hand that it crowds out other hobbies, you should limit play time and encourage physical activity as a balance to computer gaming. If you want to ban Fortnite completely, it can quickly happen that "everyone else" plays Fortnite and the child is thus ostracized in class or circle of friends or he secretly arranges to play with friends.

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Hey, Mom’s playing along!

Anyone who plays Fortnite with their child learns directly what experiences their offspring have in the game and may even become a permanent playmate. In the end, mom and dad might like it even better than their own offspring. There are even said to be parents who pay Fortnite pros to tutor their offspring so that their reputation among friends increases. The educational value of this is at least – shall we say – debatable.

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