Fortnite addiction is apparently breaking up families, sending kids to rehab
According to this Bloomberg piece, Epic Games Fortnite is so addictive that parents are sending their kids to video-game rehab centers, marriages are falling apart and the failings of humans to control their brain pleasure centers and live a life of responsible moderation is being revealed. The article highlights a few families whining about their inability to moderate their children and marriages.
As someone who has been addicted to numerous substances and lifestyle choices, this all seems a bit ridiculous. Without downplaying the real-world consequences of being addicted to something, video game addiction — especially in children — has always seemed like a failing in proper parenting rather than something to blame on the game itself.
If anything, Epic Games should be proud that its game is so freaking addictive, bringing in millions of dollars a day. That’s probably why Epic didn’t comment about addiction to its game.
Fortnite isn’t heroin
Psychologists and behavioral specialists are likening the game to heroin, yet surely cashing the therapy checks. People who run addiction camps are pushing kids to sleep and eat healthily and shed their devices, yet would not have a business without the addiction. I’m not saying being addicted to video games is a good thing, it’s certainly not a new thing, but paired with smartphones and a society that is constantly online or in-app, it can be detrimental to children.
However, it’s a video game. Fortnite is not a street drug, it’s something that parents can control. Sure, many believe that they can’t, that their teenager is out of their grasp and attempting to limit device use is a strange suggestion that eludes their elder brains. As a parent, perhaps because I’m younger than most parents of teenagers, I’ve not found restricting video games a problem. My 18-year-old still spends most of his time playing EA NCAA 13 Football. We had our Fortnite run for about three weeks, then moved on.
Fortnite is free to play and inspires competition in smaller groups, therefore it’s harder to kick than most video games. While my kids will walk away from the Xbox when I tell them to, without argument, most parents never laid the groundwork for raising kids that don’t argue with their parents best judgment. I’m not totally blaming parents for Fortnite addiction, but I’m laying a good heap of it at their feet.
Parents can do more
One parent in the Bloomberg article lamented their child spending 12 hours a day playing the game and falling asleep in class the next day. Solution — smash the Xbox. Take away his smartphone and give him a flip phone. He’ll whine, throw a fit, but he’ll detox in a week and get over it. But so many parents want to keep their little babies happy and as my mom says, “bend over backward” to accommodate them.
Video game addiction is not new. No addiction is. People have been addicted since Atari. Sure, smartphones have added an extra layer to all of this, but kids are being born and raised in an era where a good portion of our daily, functional lives are tied to our phones.
It’s the job of the parent to properly guide our children’s psychological growth within the confines of the technology that controls our world. If that means deleting Fortnite and screwing Epic Games out of a couple bucks of extra revenue in exchange for the mental health of your child, so be it.
Frankly, the real key here is how good your child is at Fortnite. With it being the most popular game on Twitch, it’s possible that your child might be a gaming prodigy and open to making a ton of money. Chances are though, like most of the Fortnite playing population, they are moderate at best. Best case scenario, they suck at the game like me, so quitting shouldn’t be too difficult. Rage quitting is still quitting.
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