What parents need to know about this extremely popular online game Fortnite: Battle Royal
The Cyber Safety Lady’s Slightly “Clueless Gamer” Style Review Of Fortnite: Battle Royal M or Mature Rated in Australia or “Not Suitable For Under 15 Years” (it is rated 12+ in other countries)
I’ve been taking my usual unscientific “hands-up” style surveys at schools this term in regards to what games are “In” right now. Every time I ask “Who’s Playing Fortnite Battle Royal” There is a usually pandemonium, students jumping up and down, majority of hands up, both girls and boys. It’s clearly the most exiting game younger students are playing right now in 2018. Keep in mind, these unscientific surveys often get hijacked by kids, who aren’t playing, but know about the game, and want to also play. Fortnite: Battle Royal, hands down…(or up) is by far THE most enthusiastically played for sure…..in primary school (Junior school if you are not in Australia) and the younger years in Highschool (junior high). There seems to be a lot of young people playing it, even in years 3/4 kids from age 7-9years of age even with the 12+ rating.
My Experience And Impressions
I downloaded the game recently and played the P.C version for quite a few hours…ok 4 hours on an off, and I’m still jumping in and testing things today. With, I must add, some help from the somewhat more experienced gamers in my household…(mainly to show me how it can be played with some skill – as I totally sucked…and died way too early in the battles to figure out what was going on!) I’m not a person who likes playing any electronic game that requires dexterity or shooting things, as my students will tell you. Give me a game like Myst or Firewatch and I’m hooked!
Fortnite: Battle Royal is a free survival “Hunger Games” style game. Your character sky dives from a flying bus onto an ever shrinking Island where you have to survive without being killed by one of the other players. The last one to survive wins. You can also build fortresses within the game to get better vantage points to defend yourself. When you first land you have to hunt around to find objects like health kits to heal you, materials to use to build and weapons to defend yourself and kill other players. Once you die in a battle, that’s it! No respawning within that battle, you can, however, watch the outcome of that battle through “Spectating” mode to the end if you want to see who won. Once you die…and I did a LOT of that. You go back to the “Lobby” which is basically a car park and wait for the next flying bus to take you to another island with up to another 100 players to try and survive again.
Note: There are some very professional types playing this game, I couldn’t believe how fast they built forts to protect themselves and shot other players with incredible accuracy. This means…your kids are going to be very frustrated at times trying to out-play their opponents, who may have an advantage with superior gear, and skills. Winning this game takes a lot of skill and many many hours of playing. And there’s always another battle to be won!
Violence And Guns
The bright colours, pretty landscapes and creative outfits give this game a sort of Alice In Wonderland feel… But there is no getting around the fact that the game is focused on killing your opponents with weapons, and defending yourself. Unlike other games in this style, this game tones down the gore and blood so you don’t see any of that, there’s no splatter or horror as such. But as a parent, you would have to be happy with your child playing a game that has a lot of guns, weapons, axes and blowing stuff up. It is rated 12+ or M due to the level of violence, exposure to weaponry, and risk of playing with strangers. The game can be very scary for younger players due to the hunting and fear around being killed.
- Rated 12+ via the European Pegi standard and T for Teen only for U.S and Canada. M rated for Australia, Commonsense media suggest 13+
- It is a strategic shooting, last person standing survival style game, with some minecraft style building and mining
- There can be up to 100 players in any battle at the same time
- It is an online multi player game available PlayStation 4, Xbox One, Windows, and Mac and now mobile devices
- You can play by yourself in Solo Mode trying to shoot everyone before they shoot you to survive and be the last man/woman standing
- You can also play in a duo or teams with people you know in real life or random strangers
- The game has voice chat on headset/mic which can be turned off in the settings if you don’t want to talk or hear others in your team. You can’t hear other players talking other than those on your team
- The recently released mobile version of the game on iOS Apple devices doesn’t have voice chat yet, but does have text chat.
- The weapons are anything from axes, swords, bombs, handguns, sniper rifles, machine guns and bazookas
- You can level up and get fancy outfits and superior weaponry by being a successful player or by paying for them
- You can purchase extras in the game with a “Battle Pass” that help you level up faster and get fancier “skins” or outfits
Playing It Safe
- Set a time limit for play, this game can be quite addictive, due to wanting to level up
- Make sure younger players only play in teams with real life friends
- Adult supervision is needed for younger players to ensure they don’t play with strangers and have voice chat on. Switch off in Settings/Audio
- Voice chat can be disabled in the audio settings in the game, but if your children are playing with their real life friends they will want it on
- Your child may want to voice chat using another app like Discord, make sure the privacy settings are set up on Discord Messenger go to Settings/Privacy & Safety
- Keep an eye on the game as the developers will be adding new things to the game over time
- Kids sometimes get picked on or bullied in the game if they are playing with older players they don’t know
- If they ever enable in world global chat you may want to disable it in settings as you can in Roblox for example
- There is a privacy setting in the game to restrict being contacted by non-friends
- There is also some bad language filtering that works with text chat in the game
Enable settings for privacy, auto decline friend requests and more through the launched game menu top right of the screen. Click the 3 horizontal bars for the Game Privacy tab, the game settings tab for the audio chat settings. Click the “Manage Friends” tab to set more privacy settings.
Leonie Presents Cyber Safety Talks for schools, business, and community groups.