Fortnite Gaming Concerns

I am writing to you to raise awareness of a game that many of our children are playing online.

Fortnite is an online survival game where players work together on missions to collect resources, build fortifications around defensive objectives and construct weapons and traps to engage in combat with an army of zombie-like creatures that are trying to kill them. The game features cartoon-like colours and images and does not depict bloodshed or gore. However, the premise of the game is to use a range of lethal weapons against other players with the objective of being the last person standing.

The PEGI rating is 12 and above due to ‘mild violence’, although you don’t have to provide your age when creating an account, so younger children can still log on easily. It has come to our attention that many children are playing this game at home.

Key concerns are:

You may have seen news reports or heard concerns raised about:

  • Communication between players: a chat function allows players to talk to each other either over a headset and microphone, or using messaging. Children could use it to speak to strangers, or it could put them at risk of cyberbullying. The NSPCC’s recent research discovered that 25% of children playing Fortnite had reported that they had been contacted by a stranger on the game.
  • Addictive nature of the game: There is research ongoing into the addictive nature of the game and there are reports of children staying up all night to play, or falling asleep in lessons after playing for too long.
  • In-app purchases: players can build up large bills on their parents’ accounts by buying cosmetic items like outfits for characters and better-looking weapons (otherwise known as ‘skins’)

We currently have the following concerns in school relating to Fortnite:

  • Pupils displaying and expressing tiredness due to playing Fortnite late at night or early in the morning. This has a direct impact on the children’s progress in school.
  • Children reporting that they have been spoken to by strangers online.
  • Aggressive or inappropriate behaviour in the playground towards peers and staff, imitating that of the behaviour in the game.

We support parents’ decisions about what is best for the individual child and value us all working together in partnership to safeguard children when they are online. It is part of our safeguarding and online safety policies to be proactive in educating pupils about the benefits and dangers associated with using modern technology and we always encourage pupils to play games which have been approved as suitable for their age group.

If you do choose to allow your child to play Fortnite or similar games, there are steps which can be taken by adults to help keep children stay safe and some suggested resources for this are listed below:

Please do feel free to contact us if you have any questions relating to this or would like support in talking to your child about online gaming.

Kind Regards

Mr Stephen Farmer