After a mood swing filled summer I decided it was time for my son to do a Fortnite detox. I’m sure most parents are familiar with the attitudes they get from their kids playing this game. Arguing about bedtimes, yelling “Give me 5 more minutes! I’m in the middle of a battle!” when called for dinner, constant arguments in game with real live friends. The list goes on.
The battle parents face with Fortnite is real. At the time I wrote this post, there are currently over 70 million players on this game. The average player spend 6-10 hours per week playing. 15% of players have skipped school to keep playing. And 70% of players have spent real money in game.
When my son first started playing Fortnite I didn’t have a problem with it. The characters were cartoony enough that it didn’t seem too realistic, it isn’t terribly gory, and I thought getting to talk to his friends from school was actually a good thing.
All was well at first. He would come home from school excited to play with his friends. I thought this was a good break between the hard work he had just put in at school and the hard work he was going to have to put into his homework. His friends would jump on the game as soon as they got home from school and they were off to their battles.
It was a couple of months into the game play that we started to see a shift. It all started with him asking for v bucks. What the heck are v bucks? V bucks are basically the virtual currency for Fortnite. Players use v bucks to purchase things like new skins and battle passes. I’ve never been one to like to spend real money on in app purchases so this really annoyed me.
He started getting xbox gift cards for Christmas and he would turn around and spend those gift cards on v bucks. Whatever. It’s his Christmas money to do with what he wants.
Then his birthday rolled around. He racked in with the cash and gift cards for his birthday. In one day he spent $50 of v bucks. This really annoyed me. Couldn’t he find something better to spend his money on?
The money isn’t the worst thing about Fortnite. The worst part is the attitude that comes along with it. You know how I said I was actually excited for him to play with his friends from school? Well that quickly changed.
Fortnite fights with friends are the worst
I don’t know how many times I heard my son and his friends hang up on each other, call each other names and bash each other behind each others backs. I know kids will be kids and kids will have their arguments in real life too, but Fortnite just turned these sweet kids into little jerks. When I say Fortnite has brought kids to tears I am not exaggerating.
And then the attitude towards us parents is horrific. My sons knows what time he always goes to bed. He knows what time I always pull the plug on technology. Every single night it is a battle to get him to come eat dinner with us and get off the game to go to bed. It was always, “I’m almost done!! Give me a minute!” And his friends would even get an attitude and say things like, “You have to go already? My mom lets me play later then you.”
After the kids started back to school and I not only battled with my son to go to bed, but I would battle with him in the morning to wake up I decided it was time for a break. I sat him down and told him he was going to go an entire week without playing Fortnite. He protested for all of 15 minutes. After I listed the reasons he needed a break he was ok.
We are 5 days into his break and he is a totally different kid. I have my sweet boy back. I haven’t had any issues with dinner or bedtime. He is getting along better with everyone including his sister. And I’ve even been able to wake him up for school easier.
What does the future hold for us for Fortnite?
Fortnite use is going to be very limited if he gets to play it again. He will only be allowed to play Fortnite as a treat for good behavior and good grades. Gone are the days of unlimited Fortnite game play.
Do you struggle with your kids and Fortnite? How are you handling the real addiction to this game?