How to Play Fortnite With Kids

Frickin ‘ Fortnite. Your kids won’t stop playing it, and you’re tired of it. What are you doing? You can join one of the many parenting support groups, or do a musical spoof to express your frustration , or try locking your game consoles in your car and hiding the key (yes, it does).

Or you can play too.

I am not kidding. Maybe you rolled your eyes when you saw a Wall Street Journal report describing how parents are now hiring Fortnite tutors – for their kids as well as for themselves. But playing the games your kids are playing isn’t such an absurd idea. In doing so, you don’t just have a better understanding of what’s going on in your kids’ brains when they shout, “Golden Scar!” on their devices, but also finds a way to connect with them. And in the end, you have more room to set reasonable limits. As Anya Kamenets says in The Art of Screen Time : “Enjoy the screens. Not too much. Mostly together. “

Think you are ready for battle? Here’s what you need to know.

What is Fortnite and what does it do to your kids?

Fortnite: Battle Royale is described as a cross between Minecraft and The Hunger Games . Mission is survival. You are on an island, and your task is to drive away other players while protecting yourself. You have pistols, axes, grenades, axes, booby traps and materials to build shelters.

This is a shooter that (rightfully) excites many parents, although it looks aesthetically cartoonish. There is no gore or gore, but there are dances of victory. (Note: Common Sense Media rates Fortnite as a 13+ game, while the site’s parents rate it as 11-plus.)

It is important for moms and dads to understand the psychology of the game so that you know how easy it is to get hooked on it. Researcher Andrew James Reid analyzed it using the Mechanics, Dynamics and Aesthetics (MDA) Framework and pointed out what makes it a “superior gaming experience.” (Player-centered stories, a stable learning curve, and a loyal community are a few key ingredients.)

The fact that kids are so into Fortnite isn’t necessarily dire. Laura Jean Baker of Scary Mommy wrote a play praising the game , writing that she clearly sees how it fosters collaboration. “[My son’s] squad member Leo slipped Slurp Juice into him, saving him from complete ruin. Together, they resourcefully collected supplies for the construction of bridges, ramps, walls and forts that served as shelters. ” One fifth grade teacher in Maryland told Vice that when one of his shy students mastered the game, he became a “strategic walking guide” to his classmates. This new role increased the child’s self-confidence, which prompted him to raise his hand more in class. Some parents say their children learn to communicate in other languages ​​by playing this game with people from all over the world. Not a bad side effect.

Your children may have a positive attitude towards play, but as a parent it is up to you to direct how and how much they play. And that could mean jumping to the island with them.

Where to begin

I spoke with Joseph Armienti, a Fortnite educator with Varsity Tutors . (Representative of the company told me that they get more than 75 requests for training in Fortnite per hour.) Here are some key tips that he gives to those who are just starting.

  • Practice near leaning towers. “This is basically the most active part of the map,” he says.
  • Move to a higher area. “If you exceed your goal, you are safer.”
  • Learn how to build a ramp. “It’s a ramp that goes straight ahead and up. Use it to rise to a higher level or create a higher level. “
  • If you are on a team, stay close to your teammates. “Then if you need to revive someone, you will be there, or if you need to protect them, you are right there.”
  • Always ignore the llamas.

How to communicate with children through play

Researchers at Arizona State University say video games provide parents with an opportunity to discuss “learning moments” that can be applied to everyday life. Games can teach lessons in planning, perseverance, critical thinking, and smart decision making and flying.

After playing Fortnite with your kids, you can talk to them about how good the sport is (because in this game, you will lose), how important it is to prepare for emergencies, and what all the enemies in your game can symbolize in the real world.

Forbes writer Jordan Shapiro, an advocate of families playing video games, described a conversation he had with his children after playing Halo: Combat Evolved.

Later, the three of us discussed why you can shoot imaginary aliens, but not humans. We thought about what aliens might represent in a child’s life: anxiety, frustration, anger, etc. I asked them what in their own emotional experience manifests itself as a monster – uncontrollable, scary, overwhelming. I helped them understand how we can turn the storytelling of the game into an emotional intelligence lesson.

You can also view play as team building, and you and your kids can work together to find ways to improve your strategies. For families looking to upgrade their skills, Armienti recommends watching The Ninja, meaning Tyler “Ninja” Blevins ( Twitch and YouTube ) , a professional Fortnite streamer who maintains most of its content for family viewing.

As you play the game, you can better understand what the healthy limits for your family should be. For example, you might see your child lose his temper when things don’t go the way they want and know they need to take a break. Other restrictions that need to be implemented (whether you are playing a game or not) may include giving one hour of device time after lunch and homework, and making sure your kids go out at least that much. the same time as they play the game. inside. Armienti says he sees parents using Fortnite to incentivize their kids – instead of giving his younger siblings a benefit, his friends are being paid to do housework in V-Bucks, an in-game currency that costs real money. For example, if they take out the trash for a week, they can buy improved skins or custom clothing for their avatars.

“If you can find a way to motivate your kids, and that way is through video games, I would say that’s okay,” says Armienti.

But what if you find yourself getting a little too wrapped up in search of a Wookiee bush and calling out a shield of claps?

Take a break. Come outside. Remember, this is just a game.


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