Fornite’s growing popularity has forced parents to address the trending role of online gaming. Fornite is a free, online survival game that can be streamed on multiple gaming platforms such as PS4 or Xbox. There is no blood or gore found within gameplay. However, there are guns, grenades, and an ax used for gathering materials for fort building. Although this is the first time my 10-year-old has requested to be a part of an online game, he is no stranger to electronics. This day and age, moms and dads no longer get to choose if their child will own some form of electronic device; the question has become when.
Because school systems have started integrating the use of tablets and Google accounts, we are practically being forced to “get with the times.” Not to place blame on this institution, because as we all know that parenting begins at home. Even though your child may be required to keep up with online activities at school, you must decide how much time will be allowed on various devices at home.
So, is there a way to accommodate your son or daughter’s plea to join their friends online to play Fortnite? It depends.
Here are a few ways to determine if your child is ready to participate:
1. Are you prepared to keep up with how your child is responding to the game?
I found out firsthand that I have to keep an eye on my son during gameplay to help keep a check on his emotions. During his first week of play, I noticed his face would become flushed. This clued me into the fact that he was getting stressed out, so I decided to cut back how much I allow him to play.
2. Is your child ready to handle the game?
Before I agreed to let my son play, I researched the game myself and saw what other parents were saying based on their child’s age and gender. I felt like my son would be able to handle the graphics and content of the game. Every child is different with how they cope and respond, so this is another factor to take into consideration.
3. Be ready to adjust how much time you allow for gameplay.
In the beginning, our son played about an hour a day throughout the week. I was more lenient on the weekends. We ended up having to reduce the original amount of time for various factors. Now, we mostly allow him to go online on the weekends and only throughout the week if I give him permission. He knew from the beginning that this was a trial run with his first online game and he understood that he was not allowed unlimited access.
Overall, Fortnite can be a positive experience for kids and adults alike. It has allowed my son to connect with his school friends through a game system platform. Surprisingly, it also gave him something to do throughout the winter months while being mostly stuck inside. Not only has it helped him learn how to plan and strategize, but it has also helped him realize the importance of finding balance with something that could easily become an obsession. It will take work to find a middle ground for gaming harmony between your child and your convictions. Like so many other new programs, apps, games, and devices, Fortnite is not going away anytime soon.
If you’ve got teens (or pre-teens!) you won’t want to miss this episode of our podcast: When Is Your Teen out of Control and What Do You Do? With Dr. Zoe Shaw – 032
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