WITH sales in excess of 125million since its release last year, battle-royale/shooter-survivalist video game Fortnite has become a bona fide cultural phenomenon with children across the world.
But it has also drawn criticism from parents for its perceived addictiveness and the number of in-game purchases.
Parents have been known to unwittingly foot a colossal bill at the end of the month, as kids obliviously click on these purchases to advance further in the game unaware of the spiralling cost to the card of mum and dad that's linked to the account.
To ensure that your child doesn't disappear into the Fortnite trenches for about a fortnight at a time, internet security expert Wayne Denner has devised some tips for parents in their efforts at curtailing and limiting game time this summer.
Wayne said: “A common concern raised by parents is the ‘addictive’ nature of the game. Opinions on these issues vary from expert to expert as to whether this is an addiction or ‘problematic behaviour’. But something nearly everyone agrees on, is that the sheer amount of screen time being spent by children and teenagers gaming is extreme.
“The nature of the intermittent rewards within the game seems to keep players hooked and opting for just one more game,” said the online safety guru.
Here are Wayne's top five tips to parents for getting the gaming balance right for their children:
· Set boundaries and an agreement – I talk about this a lot in my Online Safety workshops for Parents. Agree with your child the number of games they can play in a day. Let’s say that most Fortnite Game sessions last between 10 and 20 minutes. Agree to 3-4 games per day which equates to around an hour, hour and a half. Though keep in mind that the better the player gets at the game - the longer the games can last. And give them plenty of notice before time is up as they’ll lose track!
· Use parental controls – These tools help. Many parental control solutions allow for time limits to be set on games or block the game. There are parental controls on the game, so set them up, become familiar with how they work and what they’re used for.
· Monitor the voice chat function. Keep an ear open. This has been used by players to bully or verbally abuse other players. If abusive language, swearing or talking to ‘Strange People’ is going on disable this function by clicking on Settings in the main page (cog icon), Audio and turn Voice Chat to OFF.
· Set limits. No playing alone in the bedroom or at night after bedtime.
· Have Fortnite conversations about violence and the difference between fantasy and reality such as copying and imitating battles and violence in offline life play.