This month focuses on
the gaming craze that is Fortnite: Battle Royale!
no surprise that my May blog features the latest online gaming craze that is Fortnite: Battle Royale. It would be
hard to write about anything else this month (image not from the game).
This is not a comprehensive guide to Fortnite, as there are many
blogs and e-safety guides available about the new game and app (I have
recommended some below). This is an
exploration of the craze and how this may impact our children and young people
with regards to peer pressure and having a sense of belonging with friends.
Everyone is playing it and everyone is talking about it.
It’s on prime time news channels about the amount of time young people are playing
the Fortnite dance moves are now seen on the sports field
(and are a YouTube sensation in themselves) and Drake and Ninja’s Fortnite
twitch live stream broke the record for the most people watching an
If the above has left you confused… Fortnite is a
free to play game available on XBox, Playstation, PC and now available via iOS
for phones (with an android version coming soon). It is dubbed as a ‘hunger
games’ style game; where 100 players are dropped on to an island and fight it
out to be the last player or team standing. It can be played as a solo game or
in teams known as ‘squads’. As the game progresses the island or game zone
players are eliminated. It is thrilling, exciting and its
cartoon like appearance is appealing. The game is free to download but there
are in-app purchases for battle passes and weapons to help win the game.
And the craze is certainly addictive. Even for those young people not directly playing
the game on devices, the popular dances
(known as emotes, devised to taunt your opponents) are now a feature of school
and social life. No one wants to be left out. Playing, or even having a
knowledge of Fortnite, creates a sense of belonging and feeling –being a part of something.
But is this, to coin an idiom, ‘joining the bandwagon’ or is
it peer pressure? And what about parental pressure – do parents and carers feel
under pressure to allow young people to play the game? When we join the
bandwagon we seek to share in or support a movement that is already popular;
that is already assured of success and a social following. Children and young
people are aware of the popularity and being a part of this (even if they are
not directly playing the game) – which creates feelings of belonging and esteem
in their social groups. They can share the Fortnite lingo and create the
To feel peer pressure is normal for young people
growing up, but there is a difference between having this as a feeling and
being directly pressured to do or think something. This borders on bullying. It
is normal for young people who are ‘gamers’
to need to have the latest game and play what everyone is, but the pressure to
play something they are not comfortable with and may even see as scary or
hostile is very different.
Remember this time last year when everyone had a fidget
spinner….? Ok, I’m not directly comparing Fortnite to fidget spinners but it was
a craze that parents felt obliged to let their children be part of (and there
were tales of these being banned in schools and affecting education). Right now, allowing your child to play
Fortnite may be similar. Fidget Spinners, like Fortnite dances, had their own
YouTube followings and videos were uploaded of the craze.
So, after evaluating the advice about time
limits, parents controls, disabling in-app purchases and turning off chat as
some online safety options, it comes down to the number one parental control: