When my son asked if he could get a ‘free’ video game that was just coming out, I instantly wondered, “What’s the catch?” You see, I have learned that nothing in life is free. But what I’ve discovered about this mega-popular game is that it ends up costing so much more than a typical $60 that most games cost.
“Fortnite, the shooting game phenomenon that has become a billion-dollar creator for its creator Epic Games, now has more than 200 million players.
“That number — almost equal to the entire population of Brazil — is five times the level in January.”
Yes, it makes its money by offering items for purchase throughout the different levels and that can get a bit pricey. But the real cost is something that no well-meaning parent could ever have envisioned when they allowed the seemingly harmless game into their home.
For some families, it has cost them their child’s mental well-being, and they are NOT taking it lying down.
Not only are kids suffering from the extremely addictive nature of the game, but adults are feeling the pull as well. In the UK alone, over 200 divorces have cited Fortnite as a cause of the breakups last year.
"This game is like heroin," said Lorrine Marer, a British behavioral specialist who works with kids battling game addiction. "Once you are hooked, it’s hard to get unhooked."
"Michael Jacobus, who runs the Reset Summer Camp for kids with addictions, said about 60 percent of the 120 children he counseled at camps in Santa Barbara, California, and Asheville, North Carolina, last summer were playing Fortnite excessively.”
Even professional athletes are not immune to the allure of the first-person shooter game.
The National Hockey League Canucks had so much trouble getting players to meetings and dinners they banned Fortnite on the Road.
“David Price, star pitcher for Major League Baseball’s World Series-winning Boston Red Sox, was scratched from a May start against the archrival New York Yankees because of wrist problems that may have been exacerbated by Fortnite playing”
What do you do if your child is displaying some of the unmistakable signs of addiction to Fortnite or any other video game? Experts suggest that parents try working out a plan for time on the Xbox. The trick is enforcing any playing schedule that is determined to be best for the child and the family.
And if that doesn’t work and you see his grades falling or his personality changing, then it’s time to call in the experts. Rehab may or may not be the right choice for your child, but it’s important to get professional help that includes at least counseling.
Remember, they are still children and are not finished developing. Anything parents can do during the formative years to help children move in the right direction is never wasted effort.
Good luck to you in your quest to navigate the ever-growing virtual reality world that our children face every day.