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:
In a similar manner a parent might wrongly think taking away their depressed teens phone will make them better and not seek out treatment. There are dangers to perpetrating a moral panic – many of which are difficult to predict.
— Patrick Markey (@patmarkey) November 28, 2018
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.