Fortnite craze can be good AND bad for you

Game on: While violent, Fortnite has cartoonish graphics and a sense of humour.

Are video games bad for you? Survival game Fortnite has been downloaded well over 45 million times. Some parents and politicians fear that it could be doing their children harm.

What’s happening

One hundred people land on a small island and fight to the death. They use guns, knives and grenades, as well as sillier items like space suits. The last one left wins. Welcome to Fortnite, the viral video game conquering the world. It is so popular that some adults are worried about its impact.

Find out more

Fun and free to download, Fortnite is a hit worldwide. Many kids are spending their free time fighting (or teaming up with) friends in the game. Even celebrities, such as rapper Drake and footballer Dele Alli, are joining in.

Grown-ups are less amused. “Too much screen time could have a damaging impact on our children’s lives,” warns Culture Secretary Matt Hancock. “There is a thin line between entertainment and addiction,” adds Nigel Huddleston MP.

When it comes to the health effects of video games, science says contradictory things. Some studies suggest that gaming can improve eyesight, brainpower and happiness. Others conclude that violent games can make you more aggressive and less empathetic in real life.

So: is Fortnite bad for you?

Some say…

Of course. Although you can connect with friends online, Fortnite is basically played alone. It also glorifies violence. All that screen time could be spent exercising or socialising in real life, as Hancock says. Even better: in their free time children could try to improve the real world — by campaigning against knife crime, say.

Others think…

Calm down. Apparently, gaming can do wonders for your body — it is a kind of exercise. Fortnite is also very sociable: millions of strangers come together to share a memorable experience. Kids are smart enough to know the difference between games and reality, and Fortnite will not make them more violent. It is worth every minute of playing time.

You Decide

  1. Should everyone play video games?

Activities

  1. Come up with an idea for your own bestselling video game.

Some People Say...

“Video games are bad for you? That’s what they said about rock ‘n’ roll.”

Shigeru Miyamoto

What do you think?

Word Watch

Culture Secretary
The MP (see below) in charge of the government’s plans for culture, sport, digital platforms and the media.
MP
Member of Parliament. The UK has 650 MPs, each of whom represents a different part of the nation.
Contradictory
In conflict; not in agreement.
Empathetic
“Empathy” is the ability to understand and share other people’s feelings.
Glorifies
To “glorify” something is to make it look good, even when it is actually bad.

Subjects

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