Fortnite is not to blame for poor relationships or poor communications. People are to blame; adult people. The same adults who’ll happily market and sell products to youth to profit. At each and every turn. Time and time again.
Don’t blame ‘young’ people for wanting to escape and engage with opportunities that rattle the cage. They're not responsible for Fortnites existence, it’s game play or it’s addictive appeal. At its most basic level, Fortnite is a competitive opportunity to demonstrate ones level of in-game skill whilst forgetting (if only for a moment) about the daily grind.
As parents we need to start taking responsibility for our youth based connections both within and beyond the family unit and ensure that we maximize the time we share. Fortnite can be an opportunity to create conversations and build relationships within families.
As a parent, I like Fortnite. I like that it can be used as a connective tool with young people. I like that it can create thinking and learning around strategy, patience, leadership, compassion and teamwork. Fortnite highlights discipline, rewards creativity and is driven by communication.
What better platform to create family friendly frameworks than Fortnite?
What is new is the opportunity to ‘win’ against random local and global opposition, to dance electronically and in the real world, to strategise via headset with teammates, to share your spoils via social media and to customise your ‘player’ according to your personality. And to make a lot of money doing it.
If the same opportunities existed when you played Galaga would you not have been invested? What if you could have customised Pac-Man beyond a hair-ribbon? Or battled opponents around the globe in Street Fighter all whilst avoiding any thought of school, the future or the state of the world around you - adult mess.
And what if you could have made millions - literally millions - along the way.
If you as an adult didn’t create conversational and operational frameworks, disciplines and consequences relating to Fortnite before it was ever engaged don’t blame your young people for pushing boundaries that you didn’t set.
I’m yet to meet a young person (or gamer) who didn’t recognise the pitfalls associated with sitting in a fixed position glued to a ‘screen’ - possibly avoiding reality. They know. You know. We all know what the consequences are. As we do with smoking. Lack of exercise. Poor diet. And yet people still smoke. Ride the couch. And eat poorly.
Instead of parenting Fortnite from afar parent from within. Learn the game. See the benefits. Create dialogue. Create contest - get involved. Allocate time for the family to engage around Fortnite for the sake of competition and fun. Laugh. Fail. And play some more.
Introduce some old school games. Pong. Space Invaders. Frogger. Share the backstory-your history. Appreciate progress. Issue challenges. Keep a scoreboard. Play for chores. Create discipline. Demonstrate consequences. Be firm but fair. And laugh some more.
Two player mode might be your electronic ticket to learning more about your young person in the real world.
You might have Fortnite to thank for learning about their relationship dramas, personal loathing, scholastic hiccups and future fears.
I’d say that connection is worth stepping aboard the ‘battle bus’.
Piece by Glenn Manton - https://www.glennmanton.com.au