Entertainment Games

Monday 16 July 2018

Don't panic, 'Fortnite' won't turn your child into a monster overnight

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Ronan Price

Ronan Price

Can we all just calm down for a minute? Gamers: No one's trying to stigmatise you if you're a little obsessive about your pastime. Parents: Your children will not be sucked into a life of worthless oblivion if you let them play a little more 'Fortnite' today.

But there is a thing such as too much gaming, just as there can be too much drinking, too much exercise, too much World Cup or too much social media. Everything in moderation, as they say.

Don't forget, parents, those PlayStations, Xboxes, iPads and most phones have options that enable you set time, spending and age limits. Do your research and, let's face it, do your job as a parent.

You also need to overcome the moral panic about why your child lives and breathes 'Fortnite', along with most others in the schoolyard.

Yes, it's a shooter where the aim is simply to kill all others with a variety of weapons. But it's a cartoonish world with no gore, co-operation is encouraged between friends and building defence structures is often as important as firing a gun.

Unlike many games, 'Fortnite' doesn't constantly urge the player to waste money on cosmetic items - though it is easy for young players to rack up a bill if parents aren't careful.

Remember too that professional 'Fortnite' players like Ninja and Dakotaz are the new rock stars. Where my generation worshipped Bowie or Madonna, the youth of today look up to streamers who earn hundreds of thousands of dollars a month by playing games on camera.

Last week in LA, I watched thousands of teen fans gather in a football stadium to watch Ninja play 'Fortnite' against others on a big screen for $3m in prize money. The kids were ecstatic to be near their heroes, to perform their signature moves and queue up for a photo. More than a million viewers also followed the tournament online.

The World Health Organisation no doubt has the best intentions with its new categorisation of a gaming disorder. Hopefully this will assist the tiny minority - defined as those in distress for a year or more - to get the help they need.

The rest of us can just play on with our favourite hobby.

Irish Independent

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