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Is Fortnite Bad for Kids?

Frank May/picture-alliance/dpa/AP Images (Fortnite); Debate photos courtesy of families

Millions of kids spent much of their summer on an island, running through fields, exploring caves, and building forts. They weren’t at summer camp, however. They were playing Fortnite Battle Royale. Since the wildly popular game was released last September, more than 125 million players around the world have joined the action.

But many people don’t think Fortnite is right for kids. Players shoot each other and win only after 99 other players in each game have been killed. The violence earned the game a rating of T (for Teen)—meaning it’s not suitable for kids under the age of 13. Plus, critics argue that kids spend hours at a time trying to win the game, which keeps them from doing more important things.  

“Playing too much Fortnite can interfere with sleep, homework, and responsibilities,” says Sierra Filucci. She works at Common Sense Media, a group that reviews games, movies, and music to determine whether they’re appropriate for kids.

But others say there’s no harm in Fortnite, as long as kids don’t play too much. Fortnite fans point out that the game looks like a cartoon, and the violence isn’t realistic. Many people argue that taking part in Fortnite battles helps sharpen their problem-solving and team-building skills when players work together to find ways to survive.

“If you’re playing in duos or squads, there’s a lot of cooperation, coordination, and communication that needs to happen,” Filucci explains. “If you’re going to win, you need to have a strategy.”

Here’s what two of our readers think.

Fortnite is harmful for kids. First of all, it can be addictive. My twin brother plays so much that my parents had to set a time limit. Sometimes he’s so focused on the game that he doesn’t even hear people talking to him.

Besides, Fortnite is violent. Sure, it doesn’t show blood, but players still kill each other, and that’s too intense for kids. 

The game is free, but it pushes players to spend money to buy extras, like dance moves for the characters. A recent survey found that nearly 70 percent of players buy items in the game. Kids might not realize how much money they’re spending.

Fortnite is a great game for kids. I can play with my friends even when we can’t be in the same place. It’s taught me how to collaborate with my friends to work as a team.

It also helps build strategy skills. You have to avoid being eliminated by as many as 99 other players. To do that, you have to figure out how to find loot, such as weapons and supplies, and use it to help you survive. 

Some say Fortnite is too violent, but I disagree. It’s not gory, and the characters aren’t lifelike. The game never mentions death or killing. You’re simply eliminated if you get hit too many times, sort of like in paintball. 

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