Fortnite: A Safe Gaming Guide for Parents
If your kids love gaming as much as mine do, then chances are Fortnite: Battle Royale is all they are talking about. This fun and playful shooter game is the latest obsession taking over the gaming universe and kids all over the world are getting hooked!
Why is ‘Fortnite’ so Popular?
Fortnite is like Minecraft had a baby with Hunger Games – the cartoon version. It combines harvesting and building gameplay with shooting enemies and fighting for survival. Gamers play matches made up of 100 players and all drop out of a bus dangling from a hot air balloon (because, why not?). Players must then skydive to a location on the map, hunt for loot such as guns and shields and eliminate opposing players. Oh, and all this while running from the looming storm trying to kill them all. The last player or team standing wins the match.
What makes the game so child-friendly is the fact that it lacks the graphic violence that a lot of other shooter games contain. When a player is shot there is no blood, no cry and no sign of pain or injury, the player’s health bar simply goes down. Other players even get a chance to rescue injured teammates by reviving them (teaching moment here). And if a player dies they just disappear. Making the game one of the most child-friendly and playful shooter games on the market.
Is ‘Fortnite: Battle Royale’ expensive?
The thing I like most about Fortnite: Battle Royale is that it is free. Or it can be. Of course, most kids will want you to spend money with ‘in-game’ purchases, but that is completely up to you. Gamers can buy themselves a Battle Pack at any time after installing the game, which will give them cool upgrades the more they play. You earn Battle Points for each match and these unlock fun tricks like dance moves and outfits (skins) to customize your player. Special items can also be purchased in the item shop at any time.
What risks should I be aware of?
As with all types of online gaming, Fortnite can pose some very real threats to our children. Parents should consider the following risks when deciding if they should allow their children to play Fortnite.
- Online Predators
- Cost of ‘in game’ Purchases
- Cyber Bullying
How can I make Fortnite safe for my kids?
Gaming is great fun for our kids, but it needs to be monitored and we need to protect our children. Fortunately, though, there are several steps parents can take to make Fortnite: Battle Royale safe, and keep our kids happy.
Control game time
As the old adage goes, ‘everything, in moderation’. Same applies here. Not only does this limit the time our children are exposed to the risks associated with online gaming, it will also help us get more quality time in with our kids. Check out this article on childhood gaming obsession for tips on how to manage their addiction.
Change chat settings
The best way to keep your children safe from online predators is to limit how much they share with other gamers. The main way players communicate in Fortnite is through voice chat. This involves a child using a microphone to talk to other players in their team. Obviously, this exposes children to online predators, hackers and bullying. However, this feature can be limited or not used at all and is not necessary for enjoyable gameplay. There are several ways you can to do this…
- Firstly let’s open the game Lobby (this is where you go to start playing a match),
- Then click on the three white vertical lines on the top right-hand corner.
- Next, you need to click on the settings button, the icon looks like a gear and pops up just under those white lines. Now You are in the Settings (to our children’s horror I’m sure)!
- Okay so now we need to click on the Speaker icon right up the top next to the picture of the sun.
Now you can change the settings!
Here are our options:
- Voice Chat You can use the arrows to turn this off completely and your child won’t be able to talk to other players
- Push to Talk If you would like your child to be able to talk to other friends you should use the arrows to turn this on. This means your child will have to press a key on the keyboard when they want to talk (click on the white boxes with the arrows up the top to see which key). The reason we want this on, is so that other players don’t end up unintentionally hearing private conversations. Microphones pick up more than you think and more than once I have heard mothers talking to their children at home, not knowing other gamers online could hear everything.
- Voice Chat Output Device By Changing the Voice Chat Output Device to the speakers instead of to a headset, parents can listen to our children’s chat exchanges and can keep an ear out for inappropriate communication. Use the arrows to switch through your options and select the tv or speakers instead of the headset.
Protect your PayPal and Credit Card information With Fortnite children can only make ‘in-game’ purchases if they supply your PayPal or Credit Card details in the game checkout. Keep these private to ensure you don’t end up paying a fortune for some wicked dance moves!
Play Fortnite with your kids
Of course, the best way to make sure your kids being safe is to join in the fun and your kids will love you for it. The game is free, so why not set it up on multiple devices and the whole family can play together. You will develop a greater understanding of how the game works and connect with your children on their level. Who knows, you may even enjoy it!
The opinions reference in this article do not necessarily represent the views of Brisbane Kids or its employees. This has been written as an information piece to support the many families whose kids are playing Fortnite not to influence the use/or not of Fortnite.