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Fortnite Guide for Parents (2024)

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June 19, 2023

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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Fortnite Guide for Parents (2024)

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Fortnite is an extremely popular video game developed by Epic Games that continues to be incredibly popular with students. While this multiplayer game is free and available on multiple platforms, it does include in-game purchases, and new digital items are released on a regular basis to encourage additional purchases.

The concept of the game is simple – the last player (or team) to survive the battle wins, however 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 is Fortnite?

Teen ESRB Violence
ESRB Rating: T Teen

Additional Fortnite Information

Fortnite Game Options

When playing Fortnite there are 4 main game options:

  • Save The World - Game play is similar to Minecraft and emphasizes exploring and building (PvE or Player vs Environment game)
  • Creative - Players can design their own game elements and invite friends to play their creations
  • Fortnite 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

Parents & educator overview video

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 online 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

Watch as students describe why they like playing Fortnite

Top concerns of Fortnite

Screenhot of Fortnite Battle Royale with characters

Even if you do not play Fortnite in your home, your students likely will experience them at friends' houses or outside your home and there are several concerns that you should be aware of.

  • Students can chat with strangers through voice chat while playing and can come across profanity or inappropriate language
  • 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
  • ~Fornite has been found to be extremely addictive for some students (Source: Newsweek)

Is Fortnite addictive?

  • Fortnite 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
  • Epic Games is constantly adding new features, digital items, and play modes every week which entices students to play more frequently
  • Games can last up to 20 minutes, cannot be paused, and one player leaving early may impact their team's results
  • Screen time isn't limited to game play. Students often spend additional time watching others play the game or engage with other players on other apps/websites like Discord and Twitch

What can parents do?

  • Before allowing your student to play Fortnite, 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, then spend time playing together with your student
  • Use the the Parental Controls to limit access to social features, purchases, and what games you allow
  • Encourage a healthy balance when it comes to screen time and time spent offline by creating a family media agreement
  • Discuss the difference between virtual violence and real life and discuss which game modes your student should be participating in
  • Discourage interacting with strangers in live play and be sure to turn live audio off in the game so students can't use voice chat (or don't allow your student to use headphones while playing Fortnite)
  • ~Teach students to never share personal information, including other social media accounts or email addresses with strangers online or in games
  • Set spending guidelines with your student and ensure that they ask before downloading any new apps or making any in-app purchases

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

Fortnite in the news

“FORTNITE has created, through its marketing, a vicious cycle in which children must buy to feel accomplished and accepted by their peers,” the lawsuit states, “thereby taking advantage of their vulnerable position.”

The Washington Post

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

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

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

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 from Epic Games can be a fun video game to play together with friends, 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. Video game screen time addiction can be a real problem, especially playing Fortnite, which is designed to be addictive. Having clear guidelines about appropriate game use ahead of time can help prevent many of the problems that you are likely to run into.

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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

Log in or join the VIP membership today to view all SmartSocial.com resources about violent video games!

Become a member or log in to learn more on this topic

Superintendents, Directors and Principals: Request a partnership on this page to unlock our resources for your whole community.
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Josh's presentation about social media was unbelievably fantastic. Our students learned so much about what kids should and shouldn't be doing. The fact that it is such a thoughtful process made it all worthwhile.

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Educator Webinar Attendee

Quotation marks

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

StarStarStarStarStar

Irene C.

Educator Webinar Attendee

Learn more

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