Worried Schools Warn About Fortnite
One UK school told parents about the "dangers" of the popular battle royale game.
Just in case you were wondering about the rampant popularity of the free online game Fortnite: Battle Royale, here’s a reminder. Recently, an elementary school in Lancaster, England sent home a warning about Fortnite in its newsletter.
The warning (pictured below) reads:
"We have been notified about a number of concerns to a free online game called Fortnite, mainly played on game consoles. Concerns relate to the lack of security, enabling others to hack into home computers and its format leading to children becoming addicted leading to unhealthy increases in screen time. We encourage you to investigate these concerns if it is being played at home by your child."
Mike W, who posted a picture of this warning on Reddit, says he saw the Fortnite mention in a newsletter posted on his sister’s refrigerator.
“My niece’s parents seemed unaware of it; I think as my niece does not play Fortnite they kind of overlooked it,” Mike told SuperParent. “When I pointed out the nonsensical message it was trying to get across, they found it quite amusing.”
Imagine a harried parent who runs across this writeup in an elementary school newsletter, scans this paragraph, and then -- in the back of their mind -- stores info that Fortnite is addictive and will leave your computer vulnerable to hacking. Then they find themselves in a conversation with other parents and the topic comes up, “Have you heard about Fortnite?” “Yes, and I heard that it’s addictive and will get your computer hacked.” And thus gaming’s bad reputation is perpetuated.
"I was just so irritated by the blatant paranoia being shared around through ignorance," Mike added, "They clearly do not understand the subject matter."
Should parents be worried about this super-popular free game? Here’s a quick breakdown of the facts behind this warning:
"We have been notified about a number of concerns to a free online game called Fortnite, mainly played on game consoles."
Our take: Fortnite: Battle Royale is a free online game, which is a spinoff of the sold-separately Fortnite game (which costs $39). While the Battle Royale version is free to play, you can choose to spend money on Battle passes, which unlock special challenges and character skins. The game is available on consoles -- Xbox One and PlayStation 4 -- but it’s also available on PC and for iOS devices like the iPhone and iPad (Android support is coming soon).
"Concerns relate to the lack of security, enabling others to hack into home computers..."
Our take: The game does not allow some one to hack into your personal computer's harddrive, as the newsletter seems to suggest. There have, however, been reports of Fortnite accounts getting hacked, resulting in fraudulent charges on users' credit cards. Epic, the game’s publisher, said it was aware of compromised accounts and was issuing refunds to those affected. As with any online account with a credit card attached to it, it’s important to take standard precautions by not using the same password for all accounts, watching out for phishing and employing two-factor authentication to sign into Fortnite. You can see all of Epic’s Fortnite account safety recommendations here.
"… and its format leading to children becoming addicted leading to unhealthy increases in screen time."
Our take: There’s no denying that Fortnite is having a moment, with a reported 40 million+ players as of January. As for addiction, there is no evidence that this game is more addictive than any other game, movie, TV show, etc. Like any other form of exciting, new entertainment, concerned parents should make sure they talk to kids about their concerns and set up house rules about play time, who they talk to in the game and if they’re allowed to spend money on in-game transactions.
"We encourage you to investigate these concerns if it is being played at home by your child."
Our take: We’re 100% behind this request, and encourage parents to check out our SuperParent Guide to Fortnite. This game is extremely popular right now, but is T-rated, meaning it's appropriate for teens, not necessarily younger kids, and we encourage you to find the facts to help you make informed decisions for your household.
We'd love to hear from you if you have any specific questions or want to share your own Fortnite stories.