Epic Games and People Can Fly’s building and battle royale game Fortnite has found huge success since making its debut last summer. Fortnite‘s Battle Royale game mode, in particular, has proved to be incredibly popular, with tens of millions of players taking to the free to play mode to try and be the last one standing. Since many of these players are children, should parents be worried about the effects that Fortnite could have?
That is the very question that morning talk show and news program Good Morning America set out to answer in a segment that aired earlier this week. The piece explains that some parents are raising concerns about how much time their children are spending on the game, with parent and blogger Amy Sellings even writing an article that said she “lost” her sons to Fortnite. Sellings explained that her two sons are so caught up in the game that she sometimes won’t see them for “hours” after they come home from school because they are off playing Fortnite instead of talking to their mother.
Parents’ concerns about their children’s time spent playing video games is nothing new and most viewers online seem to agree that it’s reasonable for GMA to address that. However, GMA is catching some flak for its decision to cite a World Health Organization report that sought to class excessive gaming as a mental health disorder. That report has been widely disputed by figures within the games industry as well as health professionals and although GMA does note that the report has been “controversial,” it does not mention the fact that it has been disputed.
Moreover, GMA references President Donald Trump’s recent comments that suggested that violent video games lead to mass shootings. Again, Trump’s comments are disputed and do not appear to be based in any fact or upon any scientific research and some are arguing that it was irresponsible for GMA to mention them here without that clarification.
Though for all of the criticisms of Fortnite, GMA guest and sports performance psychologist Dr. Jonathan Fader suggested that playing games like this could positively affect young players as it gets them working together and being social. This is especially beneficial if children are not part of any sports teams or clubs that would see them being social in other ways. Dr. Fader also encouraged parents to remain aware of the games that their children are playing, even getting involved so that they can have a better understanding of their child’s hobbies and interests.
Fortnite is currently available in early access for PC, PlayStation 4, and Xbox One.