Dad Tips

From Fortnite fears to fathering fun

However, if parented properly, video games offer children all sorts of benefits.  Whether that’s extending friendships and conversations from school, learning empathy about other cultures or just enjoying the wonder of exploring a new world, video games can be amazing for children. The key is understanding the appeal for your children and being in a position to offer guidance and a watchful eye. 
 
To enjoy your child’s Fortnite sessions with them, you first need to know what makes the game so popular. Like many playground crazes, there isn’t really anything hugely new in Fortnite. However, it brings together a number of existing game play mechanics with some attractive cartoon visuals, quirky outfits and dances (yes we did say dances).
 
The popular mode in the game, Battle Royale, is played with 100 people in an online island. You parachute down at the beginning and must shoot it out to be the last person standing. All the time a damaging storm is encroaching and making the playable area ever smaller.
 
While you play you need to harvest materials for building, as well as collect the best guns to gain the advantage. When players encounter each other they use a variety of techniques to win. It’s not always the fastest draw, but the quickest builder, who wins an encounter.
 
The game is free to play on PlayStation, Xbox, Nintendo Switch, PC and smartphones. However, to access the outfits that signify how well you are doing in the game you must purchase Battle Passes. These don’t improve your player’s performance or stats, but do grant access to hard-to-earn clothing. Not having these can be seen as the modern equivalent to turning up to school in a pair of Dunlops rather than Nike Air Jordans.
 
Although there are countless headlines about the addictive nature of Fortnite, or how children have spent hundreds of pounds on it, the majority of families find it a positive experience, with the main challenge of getting kids to stop when it’s tea time.
 
It’s rated as PEGI 12+ for cartoon violence. However online interactions with other players are not covered by this.  Its online nature could expose younger players to offensive language from random strangers via the voice or on-screen text chat.  A good way to enable children to talk to just their friends in the game is to set up a lobby of friends before they play. This enables them to mute other players.
 
Other games more suitable for younger players include Minecraft (PEGI 7+), Roblox (PEGI 7+), Stardew Valley (PEGI 7+), Splatoon (PEGI 7+), Lovers In a Dangerous Spacetime (PEGI 7+), Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare 2 (PEGI 12+).

Andy Robertson - Editor of Geek Dad
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