As a secondary school teacher, I’ve become very aware of the hugely popular ‘Fortnite’ game amongst 11-13-year olds. One of my Year 8s looked tired in class today so I asked him if he’d been playing it and for how long. He said, “I finished playing at 9pm when I went to bed.”
“And what time did you start playing it? I asked.
“When I got home from school. But.. I…had a short break.”
The 12+ game is ‘taking over our children’ as one of my Year 9s interestingly wrote in a persuasive speech last week. It’s been a feature on ITV’s This Morning with a mother who banned her son from playing it and I’ve heard a lot about it in school. I even heard some pupils saying that some Year 7s had ‘bunked’ off school to play the new ‘Season 4’ when it came out earlier this week.
As a mum and also a teacher, I’m obviously concerned about the amount of time children are spending on Fortnite. To describe it I’ll use the games own description, ‘The completely free 100 player game. One giant map. A Battle Bus. Last one standing wins.’ It’s a bit like the Hunger Games where you get dropped onto a map, find weapons and kill people.
It’s not all about violence and seeing how big a weapon you can find, say the supporters. It’s about tactics, survival and building skills. But it makes me wonder about the future when my 3-year-old son is old enough to play games and enter these ‘virtual worlds’.
Surely, these games will have advanced so much in 10 years that kids will be able to wear head-sets and virtual reality suits and stuff. They will feel totally immersed into a virtual world that they won’t want to come out of. (Or am I showing my ignorance?!)
My fascination has led me to have a go myself so I can see what all the fuss is about. I might even be able to embarrass my students with new words like REKT (I think it stands for wrecked) so I’m currently trying to download it on my laptop.. first techie obstacle …I’ll let you know how it goes…