Fortnite is a very popular game that was released in 2017. There are 2 different versions of the game; Fortnite: Save the World and Fortnite: Battle Royale. Fortnite: Battle Royale is the version that is especially popular with students.
In a recent interview, KTLA asked Josh Ochs to share his tips for keeping students safe while playing Fortnite: Battle RoyaleLearn how to bring Josh Ochs to your school/organization.
Josh wanted to bring a handful of pointers to parents’ attention while allowing their kids to play Fortnite:
- Remember it is a multiplayer shooting game
- Weapons will be involved for player’s use
- Players fight each other until there is one victor
While keeping these aspects in mind, consider the user audience and the visuals they are becoming accustomed to with such scenarios. Parents tend to ask, “Why is Fornite so popular with our students?”
A simple answer is, it’s not meant to be all that serious. While players can dress their avatars up in silly costumes and act humorously during the game, the players aren’t meant to solely focus on the idea they are meant to “kill” each other off. This weakens the violent focus for players, although the motivation to be the winner is still apparent.
Because friends can team up, or go into “squad mode” during the game, this also creates a feeling of bonding amongst friends during the game. What better way to hang out with your friends than through a video game with easy access?
Learn more about Fortnite: Battle Royale with this parent app guide video:
What is Fortnite: Battle Royale?
- Fortnite: Battle Royale is a multiplayer shooting game available on console, PC, or iOS devices. Which makes the game readily available for anyone at any time
- Gameplay involves a contest between many players. As many as 100 players can join in a single round
- Players fight each other until only one player is left
- The game opens with players jumping out of plane and on to an island filled with other players
- There are weapons and resources hidden around the island for player utilization
- Players are able to arm, defend, and shelter themselves. Giving the all around atmosphere a survival of the fittest feel
- Over the course of the game, the gameplay arena shrinks so players are pushed closer together
- Players can chat with each other using headsets or text
- The reason Fortnite: Battle Royale is so popular with students is because silly humor is very much a part of the gameplay. Players can wear funny costumes and perform dance moves
- Friends can team up together in duo mode or squad mode
- Fortnite: Battle Royale is one of the first games to let players play together across most platforms. So, players are given the opportunity to play “on the go” or through a console of their choice
What is Fortnite: Save the World?
- Similar to Minecraft, the game play on Fortnite: Save the World emphasizes exploring and building
- The player’s objective is to stockpile resources and build shelters that will help them survive a zombie apocalypse
- In addition to building and exploring for survival, players can shoot at zombies
- Players can play with a group of friends
- Fortnite: Save the World is available on console and PC
What Does the Media Have to Say About Fortnite?
With more than 40m players worldwide, the chances are either your children or their friends are already passionate fans [of Fortnite]. For some, that fandom may well be bordering on obsession. –The Guardian
‘Fortnite’ Is Earning $1M A Day On Mobile, Players Are Spending More Time With It Than Tinder –Forbes
When it comes to games like Fortnite, experts are warning parents to be extra cautious about who their child is talking to. Authorities in New Jersey recently arrested 24 men, including a police officer for allegedly attempting to lure minors into sexual activity via social media sites or online games like Fortnite. –Global News
A 45-year-old New York man has been arrested for threatening to shoot an 11-year-old boy over Fortnite, according to police. Huntington resident allegedly made the threats by text and voice messages through Xbox after the boy beat him, the Suffolk County Police Department said in a press release. –ABC
[Fortnite] is a high-tension game with the tantalizing prospect of a rare win every time, and forcing a kid to turn the game off when they’re in the top 5 will make you unpopular in a heartbeat. –Forbes
While there’s no blood or gore in Fortnite: Battle Royale it is absolutely not a game for children. It’s simply too violent and too stressful. –Polygon
Why should parents care?
- Fortnite is incredibly popular with students
- The developers add new features and play modes every week to entice people to play more
- Every month, the game makes $100 million, which means players are spending a lot of money on upgrades and additional features
- In most cases with young kids, keeping a “balance” of virtual worlds and reality in mind is not a focus or priority. Using their time for video games can blur the lines of what is important in life, compared to leisurely activities
- In addition to purchasing upgrades within the game (called Premium Battle Pass), a lot of players use 3rd party upgrades to make gameplay easier or to get certain upgrades. Some of these 3rd party upgrades have been reported as malicious in nature
- Games can last up to 20 minutes and users typically play with strangers
- Fortnite is designed to keep players coming back which can be difficult for teens and tweens who haven’t yet developed a healthy relationship with screen time. Games like these can trigger obsessive behavior in people
- Students are sometimes exposed to profanity or inappropriate language from other players through text or voice chatting
- There are reports of hackers targeting Fortnite accounts to spend hundred of dollars on in-game purchases. Some players who have been hacked have been refunded the amount the hackers stole from the developers
- At the time of this video, the developers of Fortnite are suing a 14-year-old player for cheating in the game and posting a video about it on YouTube
What parents say about Fortnite: Battle Royale
Minecraft Meets A Toned-Down Version of Call-Of-Duty
Fortnite has a Minecraft-like creative aspect, as players can build structures. Assault weapon guns are used to hunt people and shoot them dead, but there is no blood. Players are randomly assigned a male or female character. The female characters are over-sexualized with big chests, skin-tight clothes, small waists, and large rear ends. Also, be prepared for $25 in-game purchases (additional weapons, etc.) that your child will beg for.
This is THE game played by 13/14 yr old boys at my kid’s school
So this is supposedly the game the tweens and teens are all flocking to right now. I read the other reviews — harmless fun, cartoonish graphics, great strategy. That might all be true, but parents should know that many of your kids are up all night playing this game. All night, even on school nights. I believe they are doing real time chat via Discord when playing, which is likely how my kid knows his peers were up all night. It’s mostly kids who have computers in their rooms and few screen time limitations.
Source: Common Sense Media
What can parents do?
- Be aware. Use and be familiar with the apps your student uses.
- Check in often. Children are more likely to stay safe online when their parents check in regularly.
- Teach balance. Before giving them access to the game, teach your children to have a healthy understanding of screen time and time spent offline. Set limits before giving students access to devices
- Parents can turn off the game’s chat settings
- If your student plays Fortnite on a console, you can use parental controls to limit how much time they play
- Consider using a visual timer, like an egg timer or phone timer, to track how much time your children has left to play
- Talk about budgetary guidelines with your children and ensure that they ask before downloading any new apps or making any in-app purchases
- Teach students to never share personal information with strangers while gaming
- Consider joining Parent University to get videos you can watch WITH your kids so they will learn how to be safe and smart online
Mom shares her tips for keeping students safe on Fortnite:
Fortnite has 100% taken over and we (parents, educators, guardians) need to be prepared.
It all started when we went out for a family bowling night and I saw my son doing the same dance as another kid all the way across the room. I thought, wow that’s odd. How do they know the same dance? That was my introduction to Fortnite. I started chatting to other parents about it and asked if their kids were playing, what kind of game is this, what are the rules, why the dances, etc.? We all were puzzled and couldn’t believe that we had no clue what was going on. I immediately started to listen to my son’s conversations with friends, I asked questions, and Google/YouTube became my BFF. Here are a few things that I suggest:
- Listen to their conversations when they are they playing the game. Are they using appropriate language with the other players?
- Understand the terminology of the game (skins (how much they cost), avatars, etc.).
- Avoid having a payment method associated with Fortnite. Kids can buy things while playing that you will be responsible for.
- Only limit your child to play with friends that you know (not strangers).
- Understand that what happens when playing the game with friends can/may carry over to school (fights and dispute over tactics, or who won and who lost).
How parents can configure their child’s account so that they can’t talk to strangers:
Justin Lavelle, Chief Communications Officer for BeenVerified
Put a time limit on the game. Fortnite can be addictive. Although the typical game lasts around 20 minutes, a child can become frustrated if they don’t win and keep playing until they reach their desired result. By limiting how long your child plays, you are promoting the idea of “everything in moderation.”
Restrict method of payment. Although Battle Royale is free, the player has the option to purchase additional things like cosmetic upgrades for their characters. These items alter the look of their character and, once purchased, the player can use them for the entirety of the game. If you don’t want your child to purchase things, make sure a credit card isn’t associated with the child’s account. Alternatively, you can limit your child’s spending by using a “paysafecard” or a “games console gift card” which can both be purchased in specific amounts.
How to restrict who your student talks to: Parents may fear that their child will talk to strangers through the chat feature of the game. To restrict who your child can talk to during the game, open the settings menu on the main Fortnite page, click on the “cog” icon, open the audio tab, and turn off the voice chat. Then your child won’t have the option to talk to anybody.
Be cautious of scams. There are Facebook and Twitter accounts which claim to give away free money or “V bucks” for games and transfer them to the player’s Xbox Live or PSN cards. The player is asked to provide their account name and password in exchange for claiming this prize. This is a scam. Any giveaway promotion from Fortnite will occur only in the game. Make sure your child is aware of these scams and you verify these giveaways before your child provides personal information online.
Use Fortnite to teach your students about online security
Jon Hayes, Pixel Privacy
As we hurtle into a digital age, embracing your young children’s engagement with platforms and games like Fortnite is an excellent way to get them involved in cyber security and emphasize its importance at a young age. This aspect of online safety is often overlooked as the focus typically lies upon identifying unsafe online environments instead. However, this is an important life lesson and a great way for parents to get clued up on matters such as account security too!
Fortnite offers a great incentive to increase account security by allowing players to enable 2 factor authentication. This type of technology is becoming increasingly important in the fight against hackers and provides a great opportunity for both parents and children to sit down and learn more about it. Now, the doors are opened for further discussion on keeping private data safe online and how that data could be used if it fell into the wrong hands.
By discussing these types of security initiatives, it opens up a great dialogue with your child about cyber security which will play a big part in their life as they grow up.
Fortnite is a very popular game that has 2 different versions; Fortnite: Save the World and Fortnite: Battle Royale. Fortnite: Battle Royale is the version that is especially popular with students. Gameplay involves a contest between many players. Players fight each other until only one player is left. Students tend to get in trouble on the app when they don’t regulate their screen time, they play and chat with strangers, they make purchases without their parents knowing, they purchase malicious 3rd party upgrades, or their game play carries over to school and can cause animosity with their friends over winning/losing.
Parents can see Fortnite as an opportunity to start a digital safety dialogue with their students, make learning online security fun, and promote positive screen time habits. While it may seem difficult to monitor your student on Fortnite, if parents follow the steps above, then they can keep their child safe on the game.
What are your best tips for keeping students safe on the Fortnite games? Let us know in the comments below!