To me “fortnight” brings up memories of spending two weeks in England with my relatives. No, we weren’t running around shooting digital enemies, but hobbling on pebbly beaches for the period of time Brits have long called a fortnight.
Today’s “Fortnite” is something quite different. It’s at its base it is a third person shooter game, but it also has dancing (The Floss) and strategy, and it has taken the gamer world by storm. Everyone from Drake to your 12-year-old is playing it right now. Tweens and teens organize Fortnite sleepovers where players bring their own systems and sit lined up, playing side by each.
Why is it so popular? I asked my own 16-year-old son, who has logged more than few hours playing this game. “Because it’s free.” Other kids have told me they love it because of the dancing, the puzzle solving, and one who said “I don’t know why! I just know I love it!”
Certainly, with the barrier of price removed, the game caught on quickly and became an obsession. What do you need to know about the game, and how can you stop your tween or teen from playing non-stop?
One of the biggest frustrations as the parent of a gamer is getting them to end the game, when you have to leave the house, or simply insist that they have a life outside of their online world. “But I’m in the middle of a game!” is a constant refrain. It might help to establish some rules of play before your child starts his Fortnite battle.
Ask him/her what they are playing; solo or team. Ask them to estimate the time they think it will take to play one game. Calculate the approximate end time and tell them they’re not allowed to start a second game without once again speaking with you and estimating another end time.
Often the kids will have friends over, and they will play the game at the same time, but not necessarily communicating with each other. This isn’t horrible (we do the same thing when watching a movie) but encourage them to try to start and end their games around the same time so they can coordinate breaks.
They may want to watch other players play the game on-line. Drake playing the Fortnite pro, Ninja, was watched by millions. Don’t try to understand it, just put some rules on it. And on the positive side, they’re probably finally Flossing, daily.
Kathy Buckworth has four children, including a 16-year-old son, whom, at time of writing, was playing Fortnite.
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