Kids and fortnite: the parental negotiations continue

If you have a boy over the age of 8 you are probably familiar with the endless fortnite debates. 🙃

Here’s yet another amusing anecdote involving the kid, us parents and the endlessness that is known as fortnite mobile (i.e. an app on a phone).

Our latest fortnite debate has something to do with levels.

Did you know there are levels in fortnite?

The basic premise of the game is something like this: outlive everyone else.

You begin a game with 100 people parachuting onto this island. You have a pickax as a weapon and not much else. You are to fight everyone until they’re all dead and you’re left standing as the winner.

The fun part is that you can choose to play with other people. This is the interactive part of the game: the kids organize themselves into small groups, and coordinate their plan for survival. They’re plugged into headsets and talk to each other while they go on their survival rampage.

My kid, for example, plays with almost every kid on his hockey team. Sometimes, there are school mates as well, or kids from baseball. But the bulk is the hockey crowd.

The weapons and ammunition can be found all around the island. There are a lot of guns and ammunition, scattered here and there to be located by the players. And, what’s more, the island shrinks in size (I think there’s a storm or something) so the players are closer in proximity to one another as the game advances. That’s another part of the challenge.

All this is done by playing on the PlayStation, hooked up to a big tv screen. (I believe there is an Xbox side of things as well.)

So one day the 13yo starts complaining he can’t get to the higher levels fast enough. He seems pretty competitive when he plays the game on the PS4, but he’s not advancing as fast as he wants to.

Why not, you ask?

Partly because he has restrictions. Maximum 3 hour limit (loosely enforced on the days he’s home during summer vacation) but this will reduce significantly when he goes back to school.

No video games at all during the school week. (Judge me all you want, I don’t care.)

The other reason is because my poor, neglected boy does not have fortnite loaded on his phone.

You see, there is some way to have it on mobile that helps you advance levels without actually playing the game. Something to do with bush camping.

Bush camping in fortnite is a way to stay alive while hiding in a bush (or wearing bush camouflage)…this is a simplistic explanation and if you want to learn more about this, go ahead and google your heart out.

To make matters even more interesting, his android phone died last week. He had one without a lot of storage (but plenty of storage for regular, every day stuff, just not fortnite related stuff) and he has data (but a cap, some limit his dad put on his plan) so naturally he started complaining about the restrictions.

Some of them were valid complaints. There are some apps (public transport, maps, teamsnap), and google apps he uses for school he says were loading very slowly. His now dead phone had limits and as a result there was frustration waiting for stuff to load.

I get that.

He’s going into grade 8 in September, his needs have changed in the last couple of years. We recognized this and said that the next phone would take this into consideration.

We’re not unreasonable parents here.

But now that his phone is dead, the search is on for the best new one (in his mind).

Naturally he wants an iPhone. We find iPhone rather expensive.

But, there are apparently some approved android phones that can handle the fortnite app.

Not that we are comfortable with this, you understand. I don’t give two hoots whether the phone is compatible for fortnite or not, he’s not loading it on his phone.

“But mom,” he says. “I’m only on level ‘double digits.” He points to the PS4 screen and shows me.

“Poor thing,” I tell him. “You must feel so neglected and left out.” (My turn to eyeroll).

“My friends are all in the triple digits!” he continues. “They have fortnite on their phone and they can gain levels without having to play the game just by bush camping!”

Basically the idea is if he’s sitting on the couch watching a youtube video (of fortnite most likely), netflix or even tv, he can be bush camping on his phone without playing the game and up his level that way.

Whatever.

This whole thing is very amusing to me. I mean, I recall restrictions during my teenage years that I simply (but not necessarily happily) accepted. At the time, for example, I really wanted to have my hair styled in that ‘feathered’ way that some of the girls in highschool had, but we simply could not afford hair dressers every 6 to 8 weeks. Wearing Jordache jeans was another thing…or Nike tennis shoes. We didn’t have that kind of money and even after I got a job to pay for things I wanted, those desires didn’t end up being particularly pertinent to me anymore.

Spa visits to wax my eyebrows in highschool? Trips to the Bahamas or Mexico during spring break? A car at 16?

Not me. Plenty of my friends were able to do, or have those things, but certainly not all of them.

Not me, either.

My boy is being a good sport (mostly) about the whole fortnite-app-on-the-phone thing, he really is trying. But he’s also not quite ready to give up on the debate.

When we mentioned we could get him a refurbished iPhone from a reputable place, AND it would have more storage than we originally wanted for him, he immediately researched the fortnite capabilities.

“You’re not loading it on your new phone”, we both told him.

“But then I’ll be the only one with nothing to do at parties and sleepovers,” he said.

How times have changed. They want to get together after a hockey game or practice, go to someone’s house, and immediately load fortnite and play it. Those who are not on the big screen will stare at their phone and play it on the app.

Am I understanding this right? I think that’s how he explained it to me.

His dad suggested they do something else.

“What about a board game?” he teased.

lol  😛

Times really have changed. I mean, we all know that that’s not gonna happen… 😉

My son is sort of accepting of our opinion. But he’s still negotiating, just like a good teenager should be doing.

And when we teased him he should use his own money for the new phone, he was completely against it.

Funny how that works, isn’t it.

(In the meantime he said he would pay half. I can life with that. What a good boy… ❤ )

🙂

Final thoughts:

Will this mean we will allow him to load fortnite on his new phone once he gets it?

I think my biggest concern is that *not allowing something* is easier than allowing it, letting it get out of control, and then *having to take it away*.

This is the main reason we rarely allowed video games during the school week – we simply never started that.

I’m seeing some parents struggle with this now. They allowed unlimited fortnite initially due to the novelty of the thing (and, honestly, the kids are out of your hair and quiet for a long time, which may seem like a perk at the time). But then, we suddenly realized how all this gaming affects the kids. There are many examples of what happens, from aggression, attitude, sloppy work when doing chores (or homework) or even sleep deprivation. Think about their brain development during the teen years and how all this screen time affects REM sleep, for one thing. (They say an hour prior to bed time is a good time to disconnect. Very few people, including us adults, adhere to his recommendation. The difference is I’m not watching fast-moving shooting videos, but rather I’m reading on an app, or watching tv…)

So parents start to panic, yank their kid off the screen, the kid gets pissed off and everyone is whining and crying.

I want to prevent this from happening, or happening more than it already is. (We’re not perfect either, and let things slide more often than we should.) With both kids in competitive sports, the last thing I need is another “I’m just finishing this last game” when they’re supposed to get ready for the rink.

We all know a fortnite game is never done until you’re dead.

Bottom line: I haven’t completely decided yet whether this fortnite app will be loaded on his phone, or not, or when, if that time will come (maybe). I’m still leaning heavily toward no. I think my husband is trying to support me but at the same time his body language tells me he’s not as concerned about it as I am. In fairness, the dialogue between all three of us is continuing for the moment, and that’s the most important thing.

And if we do end up allowing it? I’ll make it count toward the maximum weekend tally. I’m sure you can imagine how that’s gonna go over.

And so, the fortnite saga continues… 🙂

sigh

7 thoughts on “Kids and fortnite: the parental negotiations continue

  1. I really enjoyed your post! I have never heard of a parent trying their best to understand the mechanics of the game and I appreciate that. I am 18 years old going on nineteen and am currently in college and I have been playing this game since the start. I have to admit that it is addicting but I do believe that I am able balance my gameplay and my personal tasks but when it comes to younger kids I believe that there MUST be limits placed on their Fortnite gaming because like I said this game is very addicting and I can only imagine what I would have been like had I had this game at the age of 13.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much for your comment. It is wonderful that you’re taking time out for dialogue on this topic. May I quote you in future posts on this topic? I appreciate your insights more than I can say, particularly because you’re a peer to my son.
      😊

      Like

  2. That was hilarious to read. I’m glad you’re amused, too (instead of aggravated). I’d stick to the “no”, but you do present a good counter – let him, but let it count towards the week tally. The question is: How will you enforce it? He might say he’s using the phone “for school”, while playing it.

    I think it’s very smart of you to start with the no’s. I’ve been brought up that way, and even though I wasn;t happy about it, I think it was for my own good. I know people who were allowed to game without limits. They have all sorts of issues now.

    Liked by 1 person

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