Fortnite is only for kids
Fortnite - should children (be allowed) to play that?
The new German Youth Protection Act has been in force since May 1st, 2021. Against this background, there may be changes to the following content and recommendations. These are currently being editorially checked and implemented as soon as possible.
What is fortnite
When children and young people talk about "Fortnite", they usually mean the game "Fortnite Battle Royale". There are versions for PC and consoles, but also for mobile devices such as smartphones or tablets.
The game idea is quickly told: It's about your own survival - and only the last survivor wins. The player lands on an island with a parachute. Equipped with an ax, he searches for raw materials such as wood or stones. It is important not to be caught by the other players, as everyone plays against everyone. Up to 100 players compete against each other in order to knock each other out of the game: to turn them off, to shoot them.
From what age is Fortnite suitable?
Officially, the game has the age rating "from 12 years" (USK 12). But: This information is not an age recommendation! It only shows that from the age of 12, use is harmless from the point of view of the protection of minors. In the case of Fortnite, this means: The game should not disturb children from the age of 12. And in fact there is no blood flowing in the game - despite the shooting - and the whole thing looks more like a comic.
However, it is no secret that many do not adhere to the age rating of the USK: Even elementary school students play Fortnite, provided they have a smartphone or a game console.
Apart from the aspect of "protection of minors and violence", parents should bear in mind that the game can also overwhelm younger people with the task at hand. Those who keep trying to win (ie being the last to "go through the finish line") and fail again and again are frustrated - especially when friends are allowed to play much longer and can therefore show more successes. Some children then also react aggressively.
For these reasons, some media educators recommend a minimum age of 14 years.
... so forbid?
The above reasons speak against letting children under the age of 12 play Fortnite. Some parents also disagree with the principle of the game (shoot others in order to survive) or find Fortnite too cruel or too warlike.
And yes, parents are also allowed to forbid something if they think that it can harm the child's development. But this should be explained to the daughter or son in a quiet conversation. Perhaps it also helps to get together with the friends' parents at an early stage and agree on a common approach.
Use parental controls
The easy-to-make settings for parental controls offer a little more security. The Internet ABC explains how this works here:
How long should children be allowed to play on the screen?
When children are enthusiastic about a game, there is often no end to it. With Fortnite this danger is clearly visible: If you go far, a lap takes about 40 minutes. And one thing is clear: if the player has almost made it to the end, he will want to try it again.
A fixed time limit should be set against excessive use, as is necessary for all computer games. Children often cannot regulate themselves on their own. You need parents who also control the given playing times.
Would you like to know how much time the youngsters should be allowed to spend in front of the screen (TV, console, computer and smartphone)?
Why do kids play Fortnite? What is it that fascinates you?
The game is simply exciting and provides plenty of adrenaline: Can I hide well from others? Do I develop clever strategies to get away from others? Am I good enough to make it through to the end?
Another incentive is that you can play with friends. Competing against real players is also more attractive than working off against computer opponents. The futuristic design and the rather simple task allow new runs in which different tactics are tried out. No lap is the same as the previous one.
Why is the game free?
In order to achieve the highest possible number of users in a game, the hurdle must be extremely low. The "free-to-play" principle is helpful for this: nothing has to be paid for.
Free games with a certain cool factor can quickly find a huge following through word-of-mouth. Actually, there is always a game that is particularly popular in Wellen. It used to be "Clash of Clans", then "Pokémon Go".
Fortnite now joins effortlessly. Just free isn't always free. Nobody has to buy anything to advance in the game at all or faster. But many children and young people want to equip their heroes with trendy "skins" (clothing and more) - and they cost money, which, as I said, the players obviously like to spend on them.
Understand Fortnite - understand the child!
When parents have decided to allow their child to play Fortnite, the first thing to do is sit down with them: Explain your fears to your child. Agree to try the game first. During this time, observe:
- Are there constant arguments about the length of the game?
- Is my child afraid in certain situations, not just a tension appropriate for the game?
- Does my child tend to not be able to stop?
Don't worry: Nobody has to play Fortnite in person to understand how the game works. But it can't hurt to have your daughter or son explain both the goal of the game and the mechanics. Many questions can also be asked. In the end, rules should be established in the family: Everyone should know what is allowed and what is not.
To avoid misunderstandings: This is less about developing an understanding of the game and more about developing an understanding for the child or young person.
A few things to remember about Fortnite
- Fortnite has a USK 12 - that's a good guideline for a minimum age.
- It doesn't work without rules.
- Agree on fixed playing times and ensure that they are adhered to!
- Accompany your child while using Fortnite, even if you don't like games of this kind.
- Fortnite is an action game. If you forbid it, you should provide a reason the child can understand.
Helpful offers on the Internet
Parental controls: Fortnite
Even elementary school children play Fortnite, although the game is only allowed from 12 years of age. There is now a child safety feature within the game that can at least contain some of the game's dangers.
Do you have personal questions about dealing with media in your family? Our project partner ZEBRA answers your questions about media education, cyberbullying, youth media protection and much more here:Forwarding to ZEBRA.
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