3 things parents need to know about the video game Fortnite
Can you make it safer?
Most social networks and games are not secure by default. Most require you to log in and switch to a private account, or block a user from being approached by random people, or hide obscene language and illegal content. So always go into your privacy settings to see what’s on offer. Maybe it’s turning off offensive words, phrases or emojis in the Instagram comment section, maybe it’s ensuring your child is playing Roblox using the correct age, maybe it’s turning off the chat feature in Twitch, removing references to guns and violence, preventing in app purchases or access to family servers in Minecraft. Take the time to visit the privacy settings regularly to give yourself some (not 100%) peace of mind that they are striving as securely as possible.
Remember, though, that we can’t rely on settings alone to keep children safe and sound. We cannot rely solely on the opinions of others to keep children safe and healthy. And we can’t rely on their age alone to ensure they have everything they need to be physically, socially and emotionally healthy and healthy, wherever they are and whatever they do, play, watch and see online.
Fortnite: The Good
One of the main reasons your child probably wants to play Fortnite is because all their friends do. Fortnite can encourage teamwork and bonding between friends as they take to the battlefield together within the game and work to defeat a common enemy. If your kids have headphones with a microphone, they can talk to friends near and far while virtually playing together. This can be a great way to unite friends near and far.
Fortnite is a game based on violence. While it doesn’t have the blood and guts you might find in other games, your children are still exposed to violence within the video game. Battle Royale is a shooting game, where players work to kill each other. While some parents describe the violence as “cartoonish” and my husband swears it’s “not that bad,” especially compared to other video games, it’s still violence. And the object of the game is still to eliminate other players.
Is there violence in Fortnite: Battle Royale?
Well, yes and no. There are many guns in Fornite, your goal is to get the best guns out there to help you in battle. Each gun deals a different amount of damage to your opponent. That said, there is no blood and gore in this game. You shoot your opponent and try to take off their “shield” and “health” bar and once their health bar is at 0%, they just disappear. The cartoonish character and bloodless violence make it much more acceptable for many parents when it comes to letting their kids play.
Do I need multiple accounts?
You will need an Epic Games account. That account should then be linked to the account your player is using on their console of choice. For example, when I log into our Nintendo Switch to play games, I select my “Mom” Switch account. That account is linked to my Epic Games user account, so I’m playing with my stuff on my Fortnite profile.
One thing to note: You definitely want to link your player’s Epic Games account with every platform they play on. Let’s say they play on an iPad and on xBox. Make sure you link your Epic Games account to both. Otherwise, your progress and purchases won’t appear in both places.
- Maintain your child’s gaming friends list. Make sure your child is only “friends” with people you know. My son has a real-life schoolmate who has over 700 friends on his Fortnite friends list. This means that this kid can chat with over 700 people in the game, of which he probably only knows 20-30. Damn. In contrast, my son has 17 friends on his list, all family or friends. This is the easiest way to keep your child safe while playing Fortnite. Players can send friend requests to other players, and you can choose to accept or decline them. In the parental control settings, you can also set “auto decline” so that your child never sees friend requests. In this case, your child will have to send requests to their friends if they want to add them to their friends list. Once they establish their friends list, here’s who your child gets to choose when he sets up his own party for each game.
- Choose your game mode carefully. Fortnite has a handful of game modes. The biggies are Battle Royale, Save the World, Team Rumble and Creative. You can read more about them here. The only way players can be matched against strangers is if they set their game mode to “filling”. This means that your squad of players fills up with other players who are not on your friends list, such as strangers. Game modes are chosen every time you sit down to play and can be changed as often as you like, so unfortunately, it’s not like you can set a parental setting for “no permanent fill”. Just be careful and set your chat controls carefully (see below). Keep in mind that in Fortnite, squad and group don’t mean the same thing. Let’s say your child and their best friend are logged in and play together. Together they form a “party” for two players. If they play as a duo, their “party” is the same as their “team” because there are only two players allowed on a duo team. However, let’s say they want to play “Squads-fill”. This means that they will play in a “team” of four players with two other strangers. This isn’t a big deal if your players can’t talk to the other people on their team. But, in this game mode, it’s essential to know that if you don’t do what’s outlined in the next step, your child will be able to hear and chat with the randos, so fix that fast!
- Manage your chat settings. As I said above, there is a difference between party and team/game in Fortnite. Regarding chat: Party Channel: You can only talk to players in your party, who are players from your friends list. Game Channel: You can talk to anyone on your team. If you have selected the “fill in” game mode, it means that there may be strangers in your team and your child can chat with those strangers. In the settings menu, there’s a small icon that looks like a speaker. Within this submenu are all the settings you can select to limit your child’s verbal interaction with strangers.Voice ChatOn – You can hear other players and you can talk to themOff – You can’t listen or talk to other playersVoice Chat MethodMicrophone open: the microphone is permanently open, unless you manually mute the microphone (the headset we use has a switch on the cord to turn the microphone on or off and a volume roller to increase or decrease the volume) Press to speak: you must hold Press and hold a button when you talk so other players can hear you Voice Channel (full match) Party: Puts you in the Party Channel, which means your child can only talk to people on their friends list Game: Puts you in the Game Channel, which means your child may be chatting with strangers