My teenage son is working this summer at a fast food restaurant. His job gives him a lot of hours. Still, he manages to find plenty of time for video games, Fortnite in particular.
My husband is completely annoyed by this video game madness.
Part of the reason my husband is annoyed is that it has become a loud activity. It usually involves more kids at our home and lots of yelling at the screen. Or, it involves someone on the screen who we can’t see who is talking loudly to my son. Beside the noise involved, both of us consider Fortnite a time waster. It takes up too many hours of our son’s time that he could be studying for his SAT, a productive activity that could actually help get him into college.
Sometimes I go to bed , wake up in the middle of the night and find my son playing Fortnite at 1 or 2 am. I tell him to go to sleep and he assures me he will…”just 5 more minutes,”he says.
I get it. Video games have become a social activity, the equivalent of time we spent playing outdoors. In Florida, it is hot as heck outside right now, so an indoor activity is appealing. But has video game playing gone too far with today’s teens? Is it an addiction that teens don’t have the maturity to handle? I would say yes!
One night, I went in to remind my son he needed to set his alarm early for the next day. With controller in hand, He shushed me and told me he had been hiding in a bush and I just gave away his location. My response: who the heck cares…it’s a GAME!
While Fortnite is “free” teens spend lots money on “in app” purchases. One of my son’s friends told me he has spent most of his summer earnings on Fortnite skins and gear. I told him I thought that was insane but he didn’t seem to care about my opinion. (What do I know I’m just a mom)
For those of you who don’t know much about Fortnite here is a quick primer: it’s a multiplayer game that involves an online shooter and it is making millions of dollars for the game developer, Epic. The parents guide to Fortnite explains it in simple terms: it’s a mass online brawl where 100 players leap out of a plane on to a small island and then fight each other until only one is left.
Here is the thing…if you demand your teenager finishes playing in the middle of a game, they’ll leave teammates in the lurch and lose any points they’ve earned during that bout. As I can testify, that’s going to cause a lot of resentment from other teammates and your teen will have an absolute fit.
I know my hubby and I are not the only parents frustrated by our kid’s addiction to Fortnite. This friend of my son who is making all the in app purchases said he is playing as much as he can this summer because during the school year his mother prohibits him from playing on school days. He told me when she caught him once playing on a night he had homework, she pulled the plug to his gaming system mid-game. “All my friends were calling me to find out what happened,” he said.
This summer the Fortnite craze reached new levels. According to a new story in the Wall Street Journal, some families are shelling out for Fortnite coaches to help their children win at the wildly popular online game, paying as much as $50 an hour for video game pros to give their kids a boost at tactics and skills in their virtual combat. That sounds insane to me —and yet I know parents will pay money for their kids to be coached in other competitive sports so maybe this isn’t s different.
When it comes to video games, I hate being the nagging mom with my son but I feel like I need to intervene and put some limits in place for when the school year starts.
I am pondering what’s fair and would like to hear how others handle their teens’ video game obsessions. I do like the idea of no Fortnite during the school week but that means I have to become the Fortnite police. In the past, RaisingTeensBlog has looked at whether teens should have a technology curfew . We also have written about what teens spend their money on and video games were not at the top of the list. But we also wrote about how some parents use video gaming playing to bond with their teenagers.
I have tried to bond with my sons through video games, but I am REAlLY awful at them.
I realize I can’t fight the video game generation or the superfans that Fortnite’s developer is targeting, but I can insist that school and homework come first.
Meanwhile I am wondering… how crazy has video game playing become at your house? If you have figured out an video game rule or some limits what are they?