Fortnite eSports News by Content Engine AI

I know I’m not alone when I speak out against the ridiculous amount of time-wasting content that teenagers are devoting to the wildly popular video game Fortnite. The game, which went viral nearly a year ago, keeps coming up on the most downloaded list of the most-downloaded mobile games. Millions of dedicated fans pay good money for in-game currency to buy “v-bucks” (essentially in-game currency) that enables them to buy more loot for their characters. Meanwhile, former network engineer Ken Riggs believes that the game “is ruining kids’ lives.”

Actually, according to the game’s developers Epic Games, all that time spent is actually benefiting parents. In their own words, Fortnite is “empowering students to focus and learn” through its EverQuest-like Battle Royale mode. This isn’t to say that Epic Games didn’t develop the game to prey on kids and teens with easy-to-use tools like the in-game currency. Yet Riggs is one of several psychologists to believe that Fortnite’s incessant advertising – its advertisements and videos are simply inseparable from its gameplay – is responsible for the game’s rapidly growing popularity.

Parents might remember the intense media frenzy surrounding the seemingly addictive nature of the popular game Candy Crush Saga, which may not seem so bad to players, but is easy for parents to pick up on once the kids have joined the game. One parent I spoke with said that her son was “obsessed” with Candy Crush Saga and “didn’t understand” why he needed candy – it’s essentially “guilt candy” and he can buy some for himself just by clicking the link. Unfortunately, I was not in a position to order my son’s candy for him (mostly because it was Google AdSense and YouTube ads and Google Analytics, which landed on the screen with his game progression), so I sat and waited as he used his digital wish-list to win new, free items to outfit his small (and gradually growing) in-game avatar.

As adults, we may know that building a winning career in business requires a little work and perhaps we’ve agreed that sometimes work is an acceptable casualty to the pursuit of success. Some parents are comfortable letting their kids watch television, eat an unhealthy diet, get up in the middle of the night to play video games – not only because that’s what they are used to doing, but also because in their minds, we, parents, have better interests.

And those interests have sometimes led us to make parenting decisions that our children’s best interests do not coincide with. Maybe I’m being too strict, too embarrassed, too worried that my own kids (and their friends) might be doing whatever they are doing to get from one game to the next? I wonder if we’ve overlooked the bigger picture – or better yet, if we’ve been completely unaware of the bad intentions at play.

I’m not suggesting that Fortnite is on the same level as Play Facebook in terms of how a game may damage teens’ lives. I know there are myriad reasons why kids will play the game, however, like carelessly eating processed foods and skipping physical education, Fortnite is clearly very unhealthy. As teens, I know it’s easy to fool us adults into seeing them as just playing video games.

Until we learn that that’s not necessarily true – that teenagers are almost certainly watching the online videos of overly confident celebrities ranting about whatever they happen to be loving at the moment – I’m not going to let my son play Fortnite. And I’m certainly not going to let him play Candy Crush for free, either.

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