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Fortnite




Summary


Fortnite is an extremely popular game for teenagers and young children. It was originally rated T for teens, but recently it has gone down to 12+. We think that younger children 10+ could safely play if parental controls are utilized. The game is cartoonish and is more about mindless fun to get the heart pumping! As the game can be difficult if you are not a confident gamer, we would suggest that players aged 10+ would be a good place to start with parental controls in place.

Fortnite is a free-to-play, battle royale game, which means that up to 100 players can fight each other in multiplayer mode until only one player (or team) is left standing. Fortnite can be played on all platforms including mobile devices (although iPhone users will be required to have Xbox Cloud Gaming). The game is especially popular with younger players as it has many references to TikTok dances and popular characters like Mr. Beast, the Witcher, Rick and Morty, Nike, DC & Marvel, Star Wars, My Hero Academia, and many more!



While Fortnite has many different types of gameplay, the main play mode is 'Battle Royale'. The objective is to be the last one standing by killing off your opponents using whatever weapons you can get your hands on. This can either be done solo, or with up to four people in a team working together. Players will use any weapon they can find to knock out other players including guns and rockets. Generally, a game would take around 20-30 minutes (if you manage to survive that long!).



Gameplay


Fortnite has multiple game modes, however, the main mode of gameplay is Battle Royale. Battle Royale is where 100 players are dropped into an arena and they need to collect weapons to be the last one standing by eliminating the competition. The games are tense as you never know what is around the corner. You are constantly on your feet which is exciting and nerve-racking! During each round, the safe area on the map shrinks becoming a toxic storm to players forcing them to get closer and closer. The toxic storm isn't as bad as it sounds, it is simply a purple haze. If you are caught in the storm your health bar slowly goes down but no scare animations.



In this mode, you can also collect materials to build structures to gain an advantage. There is also a zero-build mode if the building element is not to someone's liking. We enjoyed the zero-build mode more as the Battle Royale can make things a bit more complicated than it needs to be, so it may depend on the player. There are also daily, weekly and special event quests to keep you little ones busy! If they are really enjoying the game and get quite good, they can even test their skills in ranked or competitive mode where weekly competitions are held!



I’m sure that some parents and caregivers will have some concerns about their kids playing this game because of a sense of ‘mindless violence’, however, it's important to remember that not every child is negatively impacted by this kind of content. I certainly did not play this game and take notice of the game as being violent, it was just a fun time with friends. Video games can be fun for kids, help them improve their thinking skills, and give them a chance to hang out with their friends. However, it is essential to be aware that a child's ability to deal with violent content can be helped by things like parental involvement, a supportive home environment, and the ability to tell the difference between fantasy and reality.



Education


Fortnite requires players to think fast and adapt to the ever-changing game environment. They must quickly respond to changes in the map, the actions of other players, and the resources available. This swift decision-making helps sharpen their ability to analyze situations quickly and adjust their plans accordingly. It also improves their reflexes and enhances their problem-solving skills.



One unexpected lesson from playing this game was stress management. The game can be quite stressful at times as you are always on edge. You never know where someone is hiding, and they could strike at any time! This game offers an opportunity for people to learn to control their minds in stressful situations in an unconventional way and helps players understand and develop their flight or fight response.



Violence/ Adult Themes


The characters and art style of the game are cartoonish and unrealistic so there is no blood or gore when people die. If you are attacked by a weapon, numbers come up next to the person representing the damage that they are taking.



The game itself is primarily focused on killing people, and because of this, there is a high level of violence. People can kill each other by using various weapons such as pickaxes, swords, guns, and grenades, setting them on fire, or even running over them with vehicles. During a team match, when players are killed, they will begin to crawl along the ground. This allows their teammates a chance to resurrect them. However, there is a timer so if you don't get resurrected in this time or, the rest of your team gets killed, you lose the game. When you lose the game, your body just becomes pixilated and is beamed away, there is nothing gory or scary. Characters appear to be more computer projections rather than living beings in the game so you do not get the sense that you are killing someone rather, it feels like you are just killing a computer program.



Fortnite does not contain explicit swear words or profanity in the gameplay itself, however, there is the potential for other players to expose players to explicit language (players can be muted though).


There are a lot of different styles of characters throughout the game that can be bought or earned through different quests. Some can have scarier themes and some can have more revealing qualities to them. But because the game is cartoon-style, we would not consider it to be too worrisome. Also, some extra game types can be horror-themed. Players can make their own games for others the try out. Some of the horror games can be pretty scary and have jump-scares. If you are allowing your younger child to play, I would suggest staying clear of these themed modes unless they love scary things.



Characters generally are covered up and are dressed appropriately. There may be some more revealing characters but everything that needs to be covered is always covered.



Monetization


Fortnite is free-to-play, however, there is a large monetization component in the game. There is an in-game currency called ‘V-Bucks’. While you can earn V-bucks through the free battle pass system during gameplay (and other limited items), it can be very difficult and there is only a limited amount you can get. As it is very difficult to obtain V-Bucks through gameplay alone, this makes it more tempting to buy V-bucks using real-life money to buy their favorite customizations.



You can also pay a monthly subscription to be part of the Fortnite Crew. This gives you special characters and cosmetics, access to the full battles pass, V-bucks, and other benefits. This subscription is paid monthly so you will need to be prepared to financially commit. We however find there is no real benefit to the subscription so it will be a personal preference.



When you first load into the game you have no choice of cosmetics, and you are not able to lock in a character/skin. The game will randomly assign you a character for each new game played. We found this to be quite annoying as the skin was basic and we felt annoyed it did not stay the same. We then felt like we had no choice but to buy a character skin just so that our characters would stop changing all the time.


One aspect that also contributes to monetization is the ever-changing item shop. This changes DAILY… so there is always something new to look over and keeps those $$$$ active. It is important to be aware that the buyable items do not give any advantage to the players, however, there can be some small cosmetic advantages such as appearing more hidden than other characters with brighter or smaller designs. Otherwise, each player starts every game on the same level.


The game can be played without spending any money, although it is very unlikely… it’s just too tempting! While this may be the case, try to focus on the positive where V-Bucks could be used as a reward system in your child’s life. You got an ‘A’ on your test, have some V-Bucks! You finished all your chores, here have some V-Bucks! Use this to create a positive influence on your child.



Safety


In Fortnite, there is no offline mode, so you play against real people all the time. During a match, you can talk to teammates through voice or text chat in the game. Because it is a game that requires teamwork, it is usually a good idea to have the chat open. You should know that the game can be competitive, which means that people might say things that aren't appropriate. But players can be quickly stopped from doing this by being muted or blocked, so this is always an option.


In the Fortnite settings, voice chat can be specified to nobody, only friends or anyone which gives children options on who they speak with and hear. There is also an option to turn off text chat in the settings menu. And also there is a mature language feature if needed.




As Fortnite was developed by Epic Games, it includes an incredible Parental Control setting. This can allow parents and caregivers to control what their kids are spending, whether they are allowed to communicate in-game by text or voice, and whether they can accept friend requests. Heck, they will even give you a report on how much they are playing the game! Epic Games will require you to provide them with your email so that anything goes through you first to approve which is just an awesome feature for concerned parents or caregivers.



Tips and Tricks


When a player first joins the game, it is important to be aware that the first few games are against ‘bots’ (computer AI). There is quite a big difference between playing against bots rather than real people! So, if your kid does well in the first few games, don’t let them be discouraged when they start to face real people and may struggle, they will get there after a while!




1 comment

1 Comment


Erin
Erin
Dec 06, 2023

Fortnite has been making a lot of changes recently to reduce the age rating, so it will be interesting to see how the age ranges change in the future.

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