There are stories circulating on the internet that PUBG and Fortnite are affecting kids’ behavior and that even a few kids have committed life-threatening extreme behaviors because of these video games.
PUBG and Fortnite 101 – The Basics:
PubG PlayerUnkown’s Battlegrounds is a (2017) game inspired by the popular Japanese Film (2000) “Battle Royal“, where survivors fight to death till last-man-standing. Fortnite was released after PUBG by Epic Games, it relatively has the same overall concept but with different gameplay, with a common hero feature, the “Battle Royal” concept.
In short, players start the game by jumping out of a plane and landing on a terrain to fight up to 100 players and survive the battle. The terrain changes, it shrinks, it shifts and it gets harder to maneuver as the game progresses.
Both games have around 30 million active players daily and a growing community of around 200 million players. Fortnite made USD 3 billion in profits in 2018.
These games are paid on some platforms and free on others, but what is surely costly is the in-game accessories and battle-passes that you will need to purchase in order to have a successful gameplay.
What Can Parents Do?
These Games Contain Extreme Violence:
These Games Are Fictional:
You have people jumping out of airplanes, rooftops, getting shot etc, all without getting hurt. You need to explain to your kids that if this happens in real life you will get hurt badly and may lead to death.
Play Only With Friends You Know:
The most dangerous part of these online games is the fact that these players chat to one another, so imagine your 13-year-old chatting with a 28-year-old pervert that you don’t know who is living in a different country.
Make sure the friends they play with are real friends, ones that you know and approve.
Keep The Game Console in the Living Room:
It is better if you keep your console in the living room or any other open space in the house. This way you keep an eye on what is happening.
Keep The Audio Loud:
The main feature of these games is the fact that players chat to one another, try to avoid headphones and have your kid play the audio from TV/Computer speaker. This way you will hear the conversation and make sure nothing out of the ordinary is taking place. Just beware that there will be plenty of shouting in the process, this is normal.
What makes anything dangerous is when we get addicted to it, and screentime is actually the most dangerous element here. Limiting screen time to kids can surely help. When talking about screen time, it’s not just about the time playing the game, it is also about the time they spend on youtube watching pro-gamers play the game.
Kids are vulnerable and are easily affected by anything and everything around them, it is our duty as parents to stay aware of what is happening with them, keep talking to your kids, try to understand their issues, worries, and try to support them as much as you can. Maybe with the younger kids, this is easily done, but it surely gets harder with the older teenagers.
We have no other way as parents than to keep the communication alive with our kids. It is probably the best protection we can give them.
Thank you Samar Maalouf for raising the topic, had the pleasure discussing it on your morning radio show, Here’s the audio (arabic) interview: