February 17, 2019

'Fortnite' and the Collapse of Parenting

“When I speak to parents’ groups about kids who are addicted to Fortnite and other video games, I tell them that it is the parents’ job to limit, govern and guide their kids’ use of video games — to help their kids develop good habits instead of bad habits. One response I often hear from parents is, “Shouldn’t I give my son the freedom to make mistakes? It’s not like he’s going to be driving while intoxicated. It’s just a video game. I think good parenting means letting kids decide.”

Does good parenting mean letting kids decide? Sometimes yes, sometimes no. If your kid is invited to two different parties this Saturday, it’s reasonable to let your kid decide which party to attend. But if your 12-year-old wants to drink a vodka tonic or two, just to see what it feels like, that’s not such a great idea. Alcohol is toxic and can be addictive. The younger the child, the greater the risks. For 12-year-olds, the risks of drinking alcohol clearly outweigh the benefits.

You tell your kid: No vodka tonics for you.

Is playing Fortnite more like being invited to a party or drinking vodka? There is growing evidence that online video games can be addictive. Fortnite may be the most addictive of them all. It is currently the most popular video game in the world, with more than 200 million active users.

If you’ve never played Fortnite, here’s one way to understand the game: It’s Minecraft meets The Hunger Games. You’re on an island. Your job is to kill everybody else. You build defenses out of various materials, which you must acquire. You have to find weapons, and ammunition for those weapons, and use those weapons skillfully.”

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