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Fortnite: Age rating and guidelines

(Image Credit: The Sun)
(Image Credit: The Sun)
Izaak
ANALYST
Modified 04 Oct 2020, 21:49 IST
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Fortnite is incredibly popular with younger people, with many of its most visible and well known professional players achieving their success as early as 14 years old. However, we never seem to consider the game’s age rating, or in what ways Fortnite might be negative or positive for children of a certain age.

A parent’s guide to Fortnite

If you’re a concerned parent curious about whether or not you should let your child play Fortnite, don’t worry, you are almost certainly not alone. In general, parents should be cautious and knowledgeable about popular trends among their children’s age group. While not all trends are bad, it is important for parents to consider how they want to raise their children and whether or not those trends might go against their values.

However, it should also be stated that Fortnite can not parent your child. You are raising a person, and Fortnite is simply a game. Fortnite can no more raise your child than football can.

So if you’re considering the potential pros and cons of letting your child play Fortnite then consider the following. On the negative side, Fortnite is an aggressive game, and the game itself inundates its players with advertisements and a pavlovian reward structure designed to keep you playing. The younger the player, the more they are susceptible to this kind of skinner-box game design.

If your biggest worry is that your child might want to spend hundreds of dollars on digital goods, then definitely be sure to talk about the various skins in Fortnite, and maybe even use it as a moment to teach the value of money.

What does Fortnite offer?

On the positive side, however, Fortnite is a way for a child to socialize with friends, especially during a pandemic induced lockdown. Socialization is important for children of all ages, and despite its negatives Fortnite is one of the current major forums of social activity.

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When played with friends, Fortnite can even reward certain behaviours such as cooperation, selflessness, and effective communication. Fortnite additionally rewards creativity, fast reactions, and complex strategic thinking regardless of how it’s played.

One final concern is that Fortnite can also induce rage in some players. This is something parents should be aware of, and something which should be controlled. If you decide Fortnite is something you’re okay with your child playing, consider how you might limit your child’s exposure and how you can use it as a tool to teach them other valuable life lessons.

The ESRB rates the game as appropriate for children aged 13 and up, but I would argue that there is no easy age cutoff for a game like this. The violence in Fortnite is cartoonish and the game itself is not especially grim, dark, or horrific. As a parent, you should know whether or not your child is mentally equipped to handle the kind of gameplay Fortnite offers.

Published 04 Oct 2020, 21:49 IST
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