What is Fortnite and why has it taken over my child’s mind?

If you have a kid who’s older than five, I’m sure you’ve heard of Fortnite: Battle Royale. I’m sure you’ve heard about it a lot actually, like every time they open their damn mouth. It’s one of those universal, of-the-moment trends that every first-world child is intimately familiar with. Every kid either plays it, wants to play it, or has already played it out and moved onto the next trend. But is your kid old enough to handle it?

What is Fortnite and why has it taken over my child’s mind?

Since its release in summer 2017, Epic Games’ Fortnite: Battle Royal has ruled online gaming. Every month, more than 40 million people log in to the player-versus-player battle royal game, where up to 100 combatants enter a closed arena and 99 are eliminated.

Like MinecraftAngry Birds, and Pac-Man in days gone by, the architects of Fortnitehave engineered a game that hits the sweet spot of addictive gaming. The bright colors, cartoonish action, crazy dance emotes and light-hearted presentation draw kids in like the first free hit from a neighborhood dope-pusher; the perfectly tuned, infinitely strategic and action-packed gameplay keep ‘em hooked for good. Plus, it’s free and is available on every major platform, from the Nintendo Switch to PC to Androids, and iPhones.

But is my kid old enough for Fortnite?

Fortnite’s official rating is 12+, but like all ratings, it’s a loose guideline rather than a set rule. No rating (or stranger on the Internet) can tell you whether your kid is old enough to play Fortnite. It’s really about your individual kid and your own values.

If you’re a gamer, you should download it and play a few rounds. When my then ten-year-old son first asked about it, I gave it a spin and found that, while there’s nothing particularly egregious about Fortnite v buck generator, there are some aspects of its design and content that gave me pause. I ultimately gave him the go-ahead to play it, and I check in periodically to make sure everything is cool and appropriately innocent. If you’re not a gamer parent, however, it’s a little tougher to determine its appropriateness—so here’s a quick guide to some of what you should be aware of.

It’s violent

Fortnite’s violence is cartoon-style, closer in tone to a Roadrunner cartoon than the realistically rendered blood-and-guts of many video games, but just like old cartoons, it’s very, very violent. Gun blasts, explosions, and pickaxe assaults are constant, all problems are solved through combat, and no realistic consequences to mayhem are presented. If you have a problem with that kind of pretend violence, or you don’t think your kid would handle it well, steer clear of Fortnite v buck generator until they’re a little older.

It’s habit-forming

Fortnite is crazy addictive. Whether you ascribe the game’s “gotta-play-another-round” addictiveness to nefarious intentions on the part of its designers or amazing game design, it grabs people and doesn’t let go. If your kid has an addictive personality, or a problem balancing the dopamine rush of immediate gratification with responsibility, you might want to wait a bit till they can handle mainlining Fortnite, and you should definitely set some clear screen-time boundaries.