Fortnite: Battle Royale, has received a lot of media coverage recently due to growing popularity amongst children – and also emerging safety concerns across the media. Over the last few months in school, we have seen the game’s continuing popularity grow; children from Ladybirds to Year 2 tell us they play the game, despite the 12 age rating. With this in mind we have, with the support of the NSPCC website, pulled together some information about the game and how to keep your child/children safe while playing it which is typed below.
Players can currently play Fortnite: Battle Royale on a PC, Mac, Xbox, and PlayStation or download it from the App Store. Use of the game has grown rapidly amongst children and young people since the launch of the mobile game in March 2018. As of 2nd May, the app version is only available on iOS but an Android release is expected shortly. The game involves 100 players fighting each other in real time to be the final survivor.
What features and risks are there on Fortnite?
Fortnite: Battle Royale has several features that can be fun, but there are also risks. These include:
- Players can add friends in the mobile game if they have an account with Epic, the game’s developer. Friends can be added by username in the game’s main menu.
- There is a chat feature in the game that allows users to contact each other using voice or text. You can disable voice chat in the game by selecting the 3 lines in the top right of the screen, select the settings icon, choose the ‘Audio’ tab at the top of the screen and go to the ‘Voice Chat’ option, where you can select ‘Off’.
- There is cartoon violence in the game. You can use a variety of weapons to kill other players, such as guns and axes.
- There are in-app purchases, which can become expensive.
- Players can be reported to the Player Support team if you are concerned about activity or behaviour.
Here are the recommended age ratings for the game:
Epic Games: Fortnite Battle Royale says it does not direct the game to children under the age of 13 in the UK.
The PEGI rating for this game is 12 years old. However, PEGI does not take chat features into consideration when rating games. You can find out more about age ratings here.
The App Store says that users must be 12+ to play.
Follow the NSPCC TEAM tips to help keep your child safe online when playing online games:
T - Talk to your child regularly about what they are doing online and how to stay safe. Let them know they can come to you or another trusted adult if they’re feeling worried or upset by anything they have seen. You can use our conversation starters to support you when starting these conversations.
E - Explore your child’s online activities with your child. Understand why they like using them and make sure they know what they can do to keep themselves safe.
A - Agree your own rules as a family when using sites, apps and games.
e.g. No gaming after 7pm
No gaming before school
Set clear time limits for gaming and stick to these timings – use a timer so they can see how long they have left.
Do not take electronic devices to bed, charge them in another room / downstairs.
You can use the NSPCC Family Agreement template to help you get started. https://www.nspcc.org.uk/globalassets/documents/online-safety/share-aware-family-agreement.pdf
M - Manage your technology and use the settings available to keep your child safe.
If you’d like advice and support about keeping your children safe online, call the free O2 NSPCC Online Safety Helpline on 0808 800 5002.
The following leaflet contains further helpful information and guidance.