Fortnite is a hugely popular game among younger players especially. Last month, it was announced that a 13-year old Fortnite player has been recruited by a professional esports team, highlighting just how seriously many children take the game. But one UK politician has concerns about children's time spending Fortnite and other games, even suggesting that they could have a negative impact.
After parents had raised concerns regarding how much time their children spend playing Fortnite, Culture Secretary Matt Hancock MP suggested that "Too much screen time could have a damaging impact on our children's lives" and that "Whether it's social media or video games, children should enjoy them safely and as part of a lifestyle that includes exercise and socialising in the real world." Moreover, Hancock revealed that he is "looking at what more could be done in this area alongside game publishers, developers and other agencies to promote safety and support parents."
Anne Longfield OBE, the Children's Commissioner (whose job involves promoting and protecting the rights of children in the UK) went one further, warning of "irresponsibly addictive platforms and games aimed at children." Longfield also encouraged parents to limit screen time and said that "games companies have a responsibility to ensure their products are not sucking in young children with addictive features."
Longfield and Hancock are not the only people to have raised concerns about Fortnite and other games like it. In a segment on Good Morning America earlier this year, the presenters questioned whether parents should be worried about how much time their children spend playing the game. One parent explained that she would see her sons for "hours" because they would be off playing the game, though one psychologist did argue that Fortnite's team-based gameplay could be beneficial to children's social skills.
Fortnite is just one game in an ongoing conversation about how children engage with games. For example, there are also questions about how loot boxes are promoted at children, with some countries and states in America considering outright bans on the business model. Gaming is a huge pastime for people of all ages and it seems highly unlikely that children are going to stop playing video games any time soon, meaning that discussions are to continue. Many youngsters will be hoping that parents, politicians, and children can come to a peaceful resolution; one that doesn't put too harsh of a limit on their enjoyment.
Fortnite is available now in early access on iOS, PC, PS4, and Xbox One.
Source: The Telegraph