Fortnite: 2022 Parent Guide

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June 21, 2022

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Unlock this lesson to learn what you can do to keep kids safe on Fortnite

This Fortnite  guide will help parents learn:

  • Why Fortnite is so popular with students
  • Why parents should care about Fortnite
  • Tips to keep students safe while playing Fortnite

Learn why parents and educators should care about Fortnite

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This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.

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This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Green Zone.
This app is not safe for students to use unsupervised, but a Green Zone app can serve a positive purpose to help a student to navigate social media and someday build an online brand. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Green Zone.

This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Gray Zone.
Gray Zone apps often contain lots of private & disappearing messages, and strangers can use this to chat with students. Parents should participate in these apps with students to keep them safe. This zone can be a great place for family time since many of these apps can be entertaining, and let your students express themselves. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Gray Zone.

This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Red Zone.
Red Zone apps often have lots of anonymous features, adult content, and easy contact with strangers. Supervision is strongly suggested on each of these apps or move your kids to a safer zone. All apps require parental supervision, these apps more than others. Read more below to find out why this app is in the Red Zone or view our list of 100+ Apps to find a safer app with your student.
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This trend is categorized as a Dangerous Social Media Challenge.
Viral challenges encourage students to do dangerous things to garner likes, views, attention, and subscribers. These challenges can be found across several social networks and may encourage students to perform dangerous activities. SmartSocial.com keeps parents updated on these social media challenges before an incident may occur in your community.

Table of Contents

Fortnite is an online multiplayer game that is incredibly popular with students. The concept of the game is simple – the last player (or team) to survive the battle wins. But this isn’t a traditional war game. Fortnite is set in a colorful, surreal world where players can dress their avatars up in silly costumes and have fun while trying to survive.

Fortnite parent video

What you'll learn in this video lesson

(Click on the three lines or a blue dot in video progress bar to skip to a chapter)

  1. What is Fortnite?
  2. Fortnite statistics
  3. Fortnite as pop-culture
  4. Family tips for Fortnite

Parents & educator overview video

What is Fortnite?

  • Fortnite is an online, multi-player shooting game released in 2017
  • Games are free to download on many devices, but often have in-game purchases to improve the play experience for the user
Teen ESRB Violence
ESRB Rating: T Teen
  • There are 4 main game options:
  • ~Save The World - PvE or Player vs Environment game
  • ~Creative - Players can design their own game elements and invite friends to play their creations
  • ~Battle Royale - Players fight each other (up to 100 players) until only one player is left
  • ~Zero Build - For players who do not like to build
  • PC/Mac, Fortnite.com, Xbox Marketplace, PlayStation Store, Nintendo Switch, Android devices
  • While Epic Games does not distribute the games directly for iOS devices, many "workarounds" are available to get access to the game on mobile devices
  • Developer’s website: Epic Games (Based in USA)
  • Terms of Service
  • Privacy Policy

the Verge Fortnite is now one of the biggest games ever with 350 million players
Epic’s Fortnite has more than 350 million registered players, the game developer announced [in May 2020]. That makes the free-to-play Battle Royale game one of the most popular titles ever made, ranking up there with the ubiquity of Minecraft and some of the most downloaded mobile and free-to-play PC games of the last 15 years.

The Verge

Why is Fortnite so popular with students?

Screen shot of three Fortnite characters fishing
  • Players can chat with other players using headsets or text
  • Silly humor is very much a part of the game
  • 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 for example, players on Nintendo Switch can play with their friends who are playing on an Xbox
  • The Party Royale mode (launched in 2020) lets players hang out with friends, play nonviolent games, and watch virtual concerts, shows, and even movies
Forbes A Staggering number of people saw Fortnite's Travis Scott Astronomical Event
With 45.8 million views… plenty of people saw multiple shows [of Rapper Travis Scott’s virtual concert on Party Royale]… Fortnite has been pushing itself past Battle Royale for a long time now, but this shows how it’s also aiming to push itself even past traditional, competitive gameplay.

Forbes

Watch as students describe why they like playing Fortnite

Fortnite in the news

Teenager with Fortnite addiction hospitalized for two months
Its addictive potential could stem from several factors. These include the imposition of deadlines to achieve the challenges of each season, the desire not to lose progress, and the access to live streaming that allows others to comment on gaming techniques and strategies.

Newsweek

45 year old arrested for threatening to shoot his 11-year old Fortnite rival:police
A 45-year-old New York man has been arrested for threatening to shoot an 11-year-old boy over Fortnite, according to police. The Huntington resident allegedly made the threats by text and voice messages through Xbox after the boy beat him, the Suffolk County Police Department said.

ABC News

Police seek victims of suspected online predator who used Fortnite as bate
Police allege [the 35 year-old] used the popular online multi-player game Fortnite to establish contact with minors. They allege [he] then used the application Messenger to contact them and seek to have them send him sexually explicit pictures. In one case, police allege [he] offered money for some images.

Montreal Gazette

Why should parents care?

Screenhot of Fortnite Battle Royale with characters
  • Fortnite is incredibly popular with students
  • Even if you do not have the games in your home, your students likely will experience them at friends' houses or outside your home
  • Students can chat with strangers while playing and can come across profanity or inappropriate language
  • The developers add new features and play modes every week to entice people to play more
  • Games can last up to 20 minutes, cannot be paused, and one player leaving early may impact their team's results
  • The games are designed to be addictive and keep players coming back, which can be difficult for teens and tweens who haven’t yet developed a healthy relationship with screen time
  • Students don't only like playing Fortnite online, but often spend additional time watching others play the game or engage with other players on other apps/websites like Discord and Twitch
  • Paid upgrades can add up. In addition to purchasing Premium Battle Passes, players can also buy 3rd party add-ons to make gameplay easier or to get certain upgrades
  • ~Some of these 3rd party upgrades have been reported as being malicious in nature
  • ~Hackers have targeted Fortnite accounts and spent hundred of dollars on in-game purchases

Children who play "Fortnite" video game cooperatively display reater prosocial behavior afterward
Hands may continue to be wrung by concerned parents and educators, but there is no doubt that modern games, by virtue of the Internet and multiplayer features, are able to elicit multiple emotional and psychological responses, many of which are positive.

PsyPost

What can parents do?

  • Before allowing your student to access a new game, review the ESRB rating, download the game, and spend some time using it for yourself, then determine if the game is safe for your family
  • ~Ask your student to teach you about the game and to frequently show you what they enjoy about playing it to help you understand their interests and the dangers
  • ~Engage with your students about their progress and ask what skills they used to accomplish each achievement
  • Use the the Parental Controls to limit access to social features, purchases, and what games you allow
  • ~Work as a family to decide what settings your family uses to get student buy-in to the limitations from the start
  • Encourage a healthy balance when it comes to screen time and time spent offline
  • If you determine it’s safe for your student to play Fortnite, work together with your student to set an amount of time to play before they start playing
  • ~Consider using a visual timer, like an egg timer or phone timer, to track how much time your child has left to play
  • Include time students spend on social media talking about the game or watching others play (Learn more about these popular gaming social media apps: Discord and Twitch)
  • Discuss the difference between virtual violence and real life
  • Encourage students to not interact with strangers in live play
  • ~Teach students to never share personal information, including other social media accounts or email addresses with strangers online or in games
  • Turn live audio off in the game or don't allow your student to use headphones while playing Fortnite
  • Set spending guidelines with your student and ensure that they ask before downloading any new apps or making any in-app purchases
  • Remind students they can come to you, or another trusted adult to talk if they ever feel uncomfortable on Fortnite
  • Monitor your students for gaming disorder warning signs:
  • ~Impaired control over gaming (e.g. onset, frequency, intensity, duration)
  • ~Increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities
  • ~Continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences
  • ~If your student is experiencing behavior that concerns you after playing video games, consider contacting the school counselor, your pediatrician, or a private therapist for help

Fortnite's Parental Controls and safety features

Fortnite Parental Controls
  • There are some Parental Controls built into the Fortnite game
  • Set up a pin, so your students cannot change the settings
  • You can  turn on a mature language filter for text chats
  • Require a pin to send or accept friend requests
  • Set voice and text chat permissions
  • Receive weekly playtime tracking reports

3 tips from experts to keep students safe on Fortnite

1. Familiarize yourself with Fortnite to help protect your kids

Headshot of Teana McDonald
Teana McDonald

Teana McDonald, 3E Connections

Fortnite has 100% taken over and we (parents, educators, guardians) need to be prepared.

My Fortnite journey started when we went out for a family bowling night. 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 Fortnite suggestions I have:

  • Listen to you kid's conversations when they are they playing the game. Are they using appropriate language with the other players?
  • Understand the terminology of the game (skins, avatars, how much adds-ons cost, etc.)
  • Limit your child to play only with friends you know (no strangers)
  • Understand that what happens when playing the game with friends can/may carry over to school (fights or disputes over tactics or who won/lost)

2. Configure your child’s account so they can’t talk to strangers

Headshot of  Justin Lavelle
Justin Lavelle

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.

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 while playing.

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.

3. Use Fortnite to teach students about online security

Headshot of Jonathan Hayes
Jonathan Hayes

Jonathan Hayes, Pixel Privacy

Embracing your child'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. However, this is an important life lesson and a great way for parents to get clued up on matters such as account security.

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.

Josh Ochs shares Fortnite safety tips on KTLA-TV in Los Angeles

Conclusion

Fortnite can be a fun video game, but students can find themselves in trouble when they don't regulate their screen time, play and chat with strangers, make purchases without their parents knowing, or purchase malicious 3rd party upgrades. Game play can also carry over to school and can cause animosity among friends over winning/losing. It may seem difficult to monitor your student on Fortnite, but if parents follow the steps above, they can help keep their students safe on the game.

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Fortnite: 2022 Parent Guide

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