What to do when Fortnite drives you crazy?

What to do when Fortnite drives you crazy?

Over the past months, I have had complaints from parents about a game called Fortnite. "All my kid wants to do is play" or "I can't get him off his computer...I am helpless!"

This game has won over the hearts of teens around the world with millions playing. The game drops competitors on an island where they have to survive. Our kids loved the Hunger Games and so did I. This is like a virtual Hungar Games with elements of Minecraft mixed in. Even adults are getting hooked.

Last week I was in a school in Bejing, and a kid told me, "I play too much right now, my Mom is always mad at me." I looked at him, "Fortnite?" His eyes lite up, and a huge smile spread across his face. "You know the game? Do you play? Sooo cool!" Within seconds he was on the edge of his chair engaging with me. 

So if your kid loves this game and it is driving you crazy - Go figure out what all the fuss is about and play with them.

The game is social and is meant to be; sit down and play, talk to them and have them teach you about their favorite game. Choose a good time (not after the first time you play but after you have had some fun and connected) to have your teen watch a TED Talk from Adam Alter or Tristan Harris and talk about the tech hooks and why they don't want to stop playing. Teach them to play responsibly and how they are being coaxed into playing longer. A positive approach will help because these kids are literally in love with this game and yelling at them to turn it off doesn't do the trick.

I think it is great to invite kids over to play for awhile and then go outside and continue the fun. I know I've seen my son lay on the couch with his buddy playing for hours laughing and screaming and merely having a great time. I will force them out, to the table to eat and keep them there for a good long time. Eventually, I will take the computers away saying it is a "forced break." Be positive about it; they will understand if you explain why they need to put it away and especially if you agree that it is fun.

Rather than focus on not playing focus on what needs to be done and why. Make sure there is enough outside activities, sports, homework, and chores and then when there is some extra time why not join in the fun.

If for any reason your child is not balanced, they won't give it up, and they are aggressive towards you other steps will need to be taken.  I am talking about ordinary annoying use in the post; not addictive use. Unfortunately the makers of this game use addictive hooks to keep you playing so there is always this risk and you need to understand that.

Oh and psst remember no computers or phones in the room. Have them play somewhere where you can walk by and see them playing and preferably without headphones. It will help you and them keep tabs on how much they are playing, and it will annoy you; this is good because then you will make sure they stop when it has been enough. Who knows you might just decide to take a break and plop yourself down on the coach to enjoy the game with them. 

–Allison Ochs, Social Worker M.S.W. , Coach, Expat, Mother of three, Wife