If you’re a parent, no doubt you’ve heard of Fortnite. In fact, you’ve probably heard a bit too much about it.
The online game Fortnite has swept the globe with its immense popularity, making headlines for its addictive gaming experience. It’s not only kids who make up the Fortnite fan base, a surprising number of adults are “succumbing to the Fortnite frenzy” too.
This free online game, with its ever-changing battle royale approach, is incredibly enjoyable, and causing many players to grow ever-so-slightly obsessed. For parents, this level of obsession can lead to some significant concerns. If playing Fortnite is causing your child to perform poorly in school, or leaving them locked away in their bedroom at all hours of the night, it is possible their playing habits are becoming problematic.
You’re definitely not alone. Schools have taken to banning the game from their campuses. Even the New York Times published an article entitled “Parenting the Fortnite Addict.” It seems that kids and teens everywhere are becoming enamoured with this game.
How Should Parents React?
There are undoubtedly some beneficial aspects of playing Fortnite. Online gaming of this nature can contribute to improving hand-eye coordination. There is also a social element. Since the battle royale is played against other real-live players, kids can interact and chat with their friends during game play. Fortnite has options for playing in a “party” or team, as well, which can provide team-building experiences.
But when play becomes an obsession, as it seems it so often does, there can be many ill-effects to be concerned about.
It’s not difficult to visualise the negative impacts of any addiction of this nature. Lengthy game play keeps kids indoors, with eyes affixed to the screen. This can be taxing on their eyesight. As with any addiction, excessive screen time can also lead to general tiredness, lowered productivity---especially at school---and even affect their social skills. Some educators have noticed actual changes in behaviour that they believe is directly related to Fortnite. One report out of a Sydney school mentioned observing "a noticeable change in some behaviours in the classroom and in the playground. We are noticing the negative effects of this game, particularly on boys and most concerning, on boys in K-2.”
With a digital platform also comes other dangers, including the possibility of cyberbullying or other security risks.
Fortnite and Family Zone
Our Kid-Safe Bundle comes with the Family Zone feature, which, for parents of Fortnite addicts, just might be a God-send.
Family Zone gives you incredible control over your kids’ devices, enabling you to better protect them from security risks and better manage their screen time.
The Family Zone Box is connected to your Wi-Fi modem at home. This comes equipped with automatic content filtering, so you can feel secure knowing that adult content won’t make its way into your kids’ devices. But, you can use the Family Zone features to limit their online time and specifically restrict what they have access to. This means you can shut off Fortnite completely, if you so choose, or set up access to occur only during certain hours. Family Zone gives you options to create “routines” for each family member, classifying portions of the day for sleep, playtime, school, and more. With the Family Zone settings, you can enable or disable Internet access during these specific time frames. School in session? Restrict Fortnite completely, or enable it for just 1 to 2 hours in the evenings. The limits are up to you as the parent.
Family Zone doesn’t just work at home, either. The controls extend to all of the family devices, both home-bound and mobile. So when your kids are away from home using their smartphones or other mobile devices, the same restrictions and settings apply. For a parent, this means far less worry about your kids screen time and gaming habits, no matter where they are.
What about other devices? While users can play Fortnite on multiple platforms such as XBox, Playstation, and Mobile, it doesn’t matter which device is used. Because Fortnite is an entirely online game, the Family Zone features give you the ability to completely restrict it on any connected device.
How is it done?
1. Log into Family Zone either in your browser or the Zone Manager
2. Navigate to Settings > Controls > Social Networks and Games > Age Profile
3. Select the relevant age profile.
3. Under the Fortnite heading, clicking on ‘Play’, ‘School’, ‘Study’ or ‘Sleep will block and unblock Fortnite during those pre-defined periods of time.
Goodbye Fortnite obsession. Hello happy, healthy family.