Have you heard of Fortnite yet?
Let me rephrase, do you have an 8 year or older kid(s) who plays games? If the answer is yes chances are I have your full attention now. Well, I have one 8y old and he plays games. I wasn’t that surprised when he asked me about Fortnite and how he can play the game.
So I read some reviews, watched few game-plays on YouTube (you know the usual routine). Needless to say the reviews were good and the game-play looked (vaguely) childish due to its cartoonish appearance but interesting. And yes it is very popular among young kids, everyone is talking about it.
So I finally downloaded the game to try it out myself (yes I play games too, probably a bit too much) before giving access to my kid. Then something happened, after spending some times (hours) in one particular game mode (which is free) I couldn’t shake this odd feeling of the impact that the game can have on my child (or any child, even if s/he is 12 let alone 8)! It’s a bit odd to express what I feel about this game (for kids), rather I would share a snippet from one article shared to me by another parent/friend in my circle.
“It doesn’t promote empathy or feelings for others. It’s about attacking, injuring and killing someone in a limited time.” Plus, arguments stating that it’s harmless because it’s ‘cartoon-esque’ with no ‘blood and guts’ are a cop out. “No blood? Doesn’t matter. It’s the end result. Its cornering and killing off your opponent. You don’t need blood to engage in violence.”
Suddenly “PEGI 12” seems to have a new meaning (which I overlooked).
- It was addictive (way more than I thought it would be)
- The feeling of missing out
- It hampered my family life (and that happened to my colleague too)
- The (meaningless) pressure of keep remaining in top 5 (yes I am good at that game and yes now I am bragging a bit) was insane
- This virtual achievement that somehow made me feel awesome and cool, I couldn’t use it in my real life or social life (except the provider, game makers little virtual lobby where people know you by your alias) and pretty much forgotten by the provider itself as soon as a new version came out.
On the positive side, somehow I felt relieved of stress (whatever it was) for that time of period. What I realised later was that this urge of “escaping to this momentarily relieve of stress” and then “back to reality” (of more added stress) and again “going back to that urge” is the very much definition of addiction.
I haven’t played that game since (now that’s not bragging either).
Now why did I bore you guys with my gaming experience, because I can see Fortnite can become similar for kids/teenagers and IMHO it surely can have its toll on them, the ones I experienced/shared (this is where you start ranting about self-control, parental control, but I will leave that with you).
As for my kid we are settling on Rayman!