Is Fortnite Ruining Your Life?

Teachers complain that the craze is a classroom distraction, and parents worry that their kids are addicted to the game—but here’s what teens have to say.

If you play Fortnite, you’re familiar with the phrase “Victory Royale,” which signifies a win in the hit survival game. But for many players, the triumph doesn’t end there. Fortnite brings lasting social “victories” to its players as well.

First, there’s the camaraderie. People may argue that video-game-based friendships aren’t real, but I disagree. The interactive experience allows teens to bond with each other, and several of my own friendships were actually strengthened by playing together in multiplayer “squad” mode. Laughing about our struggles and successes once the game is over brings us together—and I know that other kids feel the same way. In fact, nearly 8 out of 10 teens who play online games with real-life friends say gaming helps them feel closer to their pals.

Another benefit is that the game encourages teamwork. If Fortnite players don’t cooperate while in squad mode, other teams can easily eliminate each individual, so you have to work together. When my brother and I play, we have fun strategizing how we will win instead of fighting with each other (like we often do). This is one of the reasons our parents don’t mind that we play Fortnite!

To top this all off, knowing that I’ll be able to relax by playing the game when I get home helps keep me motivated during long, stressful days. For me, that extra incentive to push through the school day makes Fortnite well worth my time.

It’s true that you and a friend can play Fortnite “together,” but it lacks something important: face- to-face interaction. This is problematic for teens, since we’re still honing our social interaction skills, and it’s possible that too much time spent playing the game could weaken these abilities.

It’s no secret that Fortnite can be addictive. I have peers who play four hours a week, and some teens devote much more time to the game. Those are lost hours that could have been spent hanging out with friends and family, something that’s good for mental health. Research has found that the happiest teens get more than the average amount of face-to-face time and less than the average amount of screen time.

Of course, doing things in moderation is always advisable, and if teens can set limits, that’s great. The issue is that some kids can’t control themselves when it comes to Fortnite. It’s as if the game is the only thing they can think about!

Another problem is that players often throw down cash for in-game purchases. One of my friends recently spent $400 on Fortnite “skins,” or costumes. The purchases may seem necessary in the moment, but you might regret them the next time you go shopping with friends or if you’re saving up for bigger investments, like college.

Personally, I’d rather not waste my time—or my money—on Fortnite. Instead, I’ll use those hours to spend quality time with people I care about. 

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