So-called gaming addiction and Fortnite myopia aren’t just a problem for The Children

    
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YOUR MONEY IS NOW OUR MONEY, AND WE WILL USE IT TO BUY DRUGS

If you’re over that whole lockbox politics thing, you can always fall back on the moral panic that’s gripping parents and teachers instead: video game addiction and the ongoing obsession with Fortnite.

A report from a local station in the UK chronicles the letters multiple schools across the county of Gloucestershire have sent home to parents about Fortnite specifically. Apparently, educators are concerned about the “special Fortnite bags and hooded tops” kids are now wearing, as well as “nasty outbursts and a lack of focus in lessons,” discussions about “shooting people in the game,” cyber-bullying over costumes, and bad behavior like “anger, aggression, attitude and bad language.” Here’s a teacher from one of the schools:

Fortnite is supposed to be for children aged 12 and above and they are picking things up from adults. Younger children find it difficult to distinguish between the game and real life. They are exposed to the aggression and violence. We are asking parents ‘do you know what your child is doing? Are they safe? It is something we have to take seriously. As with any safeguarding risk for children it’s up to us and parents to work together.”

Bloomberg put up a similar piece yesterday quoting parents whose children are reportedly suffering from addiction to Fortnite, to the extent that they’re sending these kids to rehab to get them unhooked from gaming. There’s even a blurb from a “behavioral specialist who works with kids battling game addiction” who literally equates the game with heroin. We’ll just leave this here:

Of course, parents have been saying things like this for as long as video games have existed (mine sure did). Then again, we’ve never had a western game quite as pervasive and popular as Fortnite before. I suspect many online gaming veterans look at Fortnite and see just a transparent cash shop with a thinly developed PvP arena attached to it, but that’s certainly not the perception for the wee ones right now.

Also worth noting is that Bloomberg isn’t just talking about saving the children; apparently this has become a problem among pro athletes too.

“Professional athletes are getting hooked, too. The National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks had so much trouble getting players to meetings and dinners they banned Fortnite on the road. David Price, star pitcher for Major League Baseball’s World Series-winning Boston Red Sox, was scratched from a May start against the archrival New York Yankees because of wrist problems that may have been exacerbated by Fortnite playing. Some pro-baseball players are so Fortnite-obsessed that they’ve hooked the game up to their stadium’s Jumbotron video system to play it while waiting to take batting practice.”

Now imagine how hooked they’d be if the game were actually good.

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Bruno Brito

“Professional athletes are getting hooked, too. The National Hockey League’s Vancouver Canucks had so much trouble getting players to meetings and dinners they banned Fortnite on the road. David Price, star pitcher for Major League Baseball’s World Series-winning Boston Red Sox, was scratched from a May start against the archrival New York Yankees because of wrist problems that may have been exacerbated by Fortnite playing. Some pro-baseball players are so Fortnite-obsessed that they’ve hooked the game up to their stadium’s Jumbotron video system to play it while waiting to take batting practice.”

Well, yeah, hockey sucks balls. It makes sense they would be addicted to whatever piece of crap would appear.

On a serious note, tho. This is fucking idiotic, and it’s the story of my life: My parents and teachers searching for reasons for my diseased behavior instead of listening to me or actually seeking professional help.

This is simply people not wanting to take responsability for their own children, period.

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Person Dude

My problem is with people blaming games. It used to be that they’d blame TV, but now if you say you spent an entire day watching Netflix no one questions that. However if you say you spent an entire day playing games, people tend to freak out over that.

I prefer playing games than watching TV because it keeps my mind active. Watching TV is much more passive.

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traja

As a gamer it’s really difficult for me to be concerned about Fortnite. There is nothing particularly special about the game. It just happened to be perfectly suited to take advantage of the trends of the time and became the latest fad. There is no special sauce in there that makes it comparable to heroin. There will be another fad to take its place eventually.

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Utakata

My pigtails feel like they fighting 3 issues here. That is, the reefer madness of gaming “addiction”, problem gambling (not to get broad brushed with just gambling) and lockbox nonsense. Which I am pretty sure if the latter wasn’t there, the formers would be a less of issues. Just saying.

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Jack Pipsam

Don’t let China know lol.

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rafael12104

So Fortnite is the parental easy button now?
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Leiloni

This all just sounds like regular kid stuff that you’d be seeing even without Fortnite. It’s up to the parents to properly discipline the kids. I don’t blame the schools for being concerned about bad behavior, but kids have been behaving badly forever. That’s why they have adults.

I would much rather such conversations be steered towards better parenting techniques instead of blaming games. Not only is it harmful to games as a hobby, but it won’t make your kid behave any better when they find the next thing to obsess over.

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Arktouros

I think it’s funny that people can simultaneously blast Lockboxes as gamble addiction inducing, ultra predatory, and shamelessly debauched greed but when the idea that games can be addicted in of themselves it’s causally dismissed with prejudice.

All those predatory monetization schemes are using the same psychological tricks MMO games have been using for decades now. The difference is instead of spending an hour clearing a dungeon to be disappointed that the end boss didn’t drop the loot you want now you’re paying $$$ to be disappointed that the lockbox didn’t drop the loot you want. If anything one could, and many will, make the case that throwing away hours of your life on such tricks and schemes is far more harmful than throwing away money.

Finally, there are many games I don’t like but just because I don’t like them doesn’t make them not a good game. Fortnite in particular I can’t imagine got where it is today by not being a good game.

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Leiloni

I think the issue here isn’t that games can be addicting – most hobbies are if you allow yourself to get too into it just because these are all activities that you’re supposed to get some enjoyment from. We trust most adults have learned how to balance playtime with the rest of their lives.

The problem here is that children haven’t yet learned that lesson and are especially prone to becoming addicted. It’s the job of the parents to teach them how to manage gaming with everything else they need to do, and the simplest way to do that is often to force limits on playtime and play content. Clearly however, many parents aren’t doing that.

When I was a kid there were tv shows I couldn’t watch, the computer was in it’s own room (and often also used by my Dad anyway for work), and the only tv was in the family room downstairs. If I wanted to play games or watch tv it was limited to hours and places my parents could see and you can be sure they were on top of what I was doing. Often I would be playing with friends in the neighborhood or just outside by myself instead of those things. I remember hearing friends talking about shows I wasn’t allowed to see and I was never bothered or bullied for not watching them (I don’t even remember if I cared honestly – it seemed normal to have parents restricting something). And once it was time for bed, I had no choice but to actually sleep because my bedroom didn’t have any entertainment in it (and as an adult it doesn’t, either).

I don’t know why parents today can’t do such common sense things. Fortnite addiction is one addiction that parents do have control over.

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Schmidt.Capela

This made me chuckle because for my parents it would have been very hard to impose limits on me. Not only they both had jobs — meaning I spent many hours per day unsupervised — but I had a far better grasp of technology than them, enough that I was able to bypass TV restrictions by programming the VCR to record shows I wasn’t supposed to watch and game console limits by creating a makeshift disguised case for the console so my parents weren’t aware it wasn’t locked up in their closet anymore.

I suspect the situation is similar for way too many current day parents. No choice but to leave the kids unsupervised for long stretches of time, and with the kids far more proficient than the parents in all things technological to boot.

BTW, my biggest time sink growing up wasn’t TV or games. It was books. I believe back when I was 8 I was already regularly reading young adult books, and even some more mature (in the hard-to-understand sense) stuff. Heck, I once had a teacher complain to my parents that I was reading too much.

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McGuffn

Well, there we have it, no child ever used bad language before Fortnite. Case closed.

And you’re concerned about the hooded tops? Oh the humanity. Just strip the kid naked. Problem solved and case closed.

These teachers have too much time their hands.

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starbuck1771

LOL that’s the problem these days. They want to blame the game and not the actual causes. Teachers , Extremists, Politicians, and many other reasons why everyone wants to escape reality.

Teachers should be using games to educate kids. Hell even in the 80’s they had educational games for schools. The problem is the education system fails to evolve with time.

With all the left leaning politics and misguided extremist groups they wonder why adults play more games to escape reality.

The fact is everyone is claiming addiction but don’t look for the actual cause of the issue. Remember this isn’t the first reported issue from these same people. Texting addiction , social media addiction, and cell phone addiction any of those sound familiar? This is just more bs from the sky is falling groups like the W.H.O. who don’t really do enough research to actually know what the heck is going on.

More proof of the lack of intelligence these supposed intellectuals have is the argument about aggressive behaviour , lack of focus, and bad language. I went to school in the 1970’s & 80’s and guess what we even had those issue then. But guess what no cell phones & game consoles and pc were just starting to come out and there wasn’t one in every home. So their entire theory has been blown out of the air.

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thirtymil

While I appreciate your first two points, one thing I can say with any certainty is that teachers do not have too much time on their hands, given the average teacher here does a 60+ hour week.

What they do have is steadily declining respect for teaching as a profession (from both parents and the government), a perpetually increasing number of children in each class, and Ofsted arbitrarily placing schools under even more pressure on the basis of results regardless of catchment area.

Teaching standards themselves are also under pressure as (anecdotally) a number of good teachers are leaving the profession and the government’s solution is to fast-track people into teaching to fill the gaps via what is effectively ‘on the job’ training, whereas in the past teaching was a four-year degree level course (or a one-year post-degree course).

So (stop me if I’m ranting!), what the teachers have actually done is try to get parents to take more ownership of their children’s behaviour (hence lines in the source article like “We have been talking to them about the behaviours we have seen in school, in particular in relation to anger, aggression, attitude and bad language”) because as any teacher knows, you cannot teach a class anything if you spend your entire day dealing with bad behaviour.

Fair disclosure: I spend a lot of time around teachers.

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starbuck1771

Yes however at the same time here in the U.S. most states have extreme limits on corporal punishment of your children so any punishment handed out could backfire as has already been seen over the past few generations.

If I acted like some of these kids over the past couple of decades when I was a kid I would have had a belt, switch, or paddle across my butt. Not to mention the schools were all allowed to spank and paddle then.

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athiev

It’s worth knowing that the science on corporal punishment suggests that it’s mostly counterproductive. Corporal punishment is effective at producing immediate obedience, but it also increases children’s aggression, decreases their moral development, increases rates of crime and abuse during childhood and in later life, and hurts mental health.

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McGuffn

I agree but if the teachers have time to answer baloney questions about fortnite they have too much time on their hands. Either the teachers have an axe to grind or they need to be taught coping strategies (“the real problem is impossible budgets, large class sizes and incompetent parents”) when an inept journo calls.

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jay

Easier to blame games & addiction than to actually monitor/regulate what your kids are playing & how much they are playing. My wife and I foster 2-3 kids at a time along with our own, most of which are short term relocation’s due to domestic issues. It’s amazing to me how many of the kids we bring into our home can’t comprehend that I won’t let them play fortnite (or anything else) for hours on end.

It really blows their mind that I limit their screen time to 2 hours a day on weekends, and 1 hour on weekdays. After a week or so though, we usually see a marked uptick in happiness & mood, so I like to think we’re doing something right.

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Leiloni

It really blows their mind that I limit their screen time to 2 hours a day on weekends, and 1 hour on weekdays. After a week or so though, we usually see a marked uptick in happiness & mood, so I like to think we’re doing something right.

I think most parents are too lazy to do this, and if they try they’re afraid of the whining and crying so they don’t see it through to the happiness part. People need to realize kids will be kids. I remember even when I was a kid throwing tantrums over things but we learn and get over it. Your kids won’t always like you and that’s ok. People need to realize that and make decisions that benefit their kids in the longer run.

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thirtymil

I think you’re definitely doing something right. We’ve seen a marked uptick in positivity, proactiveness and helpfulness when we limit our kids’ screen time as well. Then we all play Farm Together at the weekend.

Well done that man (and wife)!