Fortnite may be a free video game, but it’s already earned $1 billion this year, as well as a cult following.
If getting the kids and teens in your home to disconnect from “Fortnite” feels like a battle royal, take just a little bit of comfort. Parents, you are not alone.
Not that that’s going to completely relieve your stress over the widely popular third-person shooter game, played by over 200 million mostly obsessed people, your kids very likely among them. The game can be played solo or in teams or squads as part of a multiplayer match known as “Battle Royale.”
Kids play “Fortnite” in class when they should be paying attention to their teachers. They play on phones, tablets, PCs, Macs and on video game consoles hooked up to wall-size TVs.
What’s more, when they play, they may be chatting up strangers, exposed to (cartoonish) violence and taking in inappropriate language. And, oh yeah, they’re playing at the expense of doing their homework or engaging in physical activities.
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While free to play, the kids are also spending gobs of money. Publisher Epic Games has made at least $1.2 billion on the sale of V-Bucks, the in-game currency used to purchase dances (which are called “emotes”), skins and custom outfits for your in-game alter-ego.
“There is no question that ‘Fortnite’ is the biggest pain point in terms of media and tech for kids today, and certainly their parents,” says Jim Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media, a nonprofit advocacy group for kids and families. “In the big picture, media and tech are designed to be addictive, period. This is emblematic of the fact that kids and teens are living their life on devices and online.”
To get a better handle on the cultural phenomenon that “Fortnite” has become, and its impact, Common Sense teamed up with SurveyMonkey and in October polled a national sample of 19,063 adults – including 2,111 parents with children between 8 and 17 years old – and 1,348 teenagers ages 13 to 17.
Among the high-level results of the Common Sense study, which have been released exclusively to USA TODAY and timed with the launch of…
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