The multiplayer action survival game, Fortnite: Battle Royale, has received a lot of media coverage recently due to its growing popularity amongst young people. It has highlighted a number of safety concerns particularly among parents who worry about the amount of time their kids spend online as a result of the addictive nature of the game, as well as concerns around online bullying. Here's some helpful information about the game giving guidance to parents and some of the things to be aware of.
What is Fortnite?
Fortnite is an online game, which includes Battle Royale, where players do not have to pay to play. In Battle Royale, 100 players compete against each other to be the last person standing in player vs player combat.
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. Since the 2nd May, the app version has only been available on iOS but an Android release is expected shortly.
What features does Fortnite incorporate and what risks do these pose?
Fortnite: Battle Royale has several features that can be fun, but there are also risks:
Fortnite can be very addictive so you may find that your child is spending too much time in-front of their screens
There is a chat feature in the game that allows users to contact each other using voice or text. If you're worried about the messages your child is receiving you can disable voice chat in the game by selecting the 3-line menu button 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. Players can use a variety of weapons to kill other players, such as guns and axes
There are in-app purchases, which can become expensive
If you come across any players who are behaving inappropriately and you are concerned about their activity or behaviour - perhaps they are using offensive language or bullying - then they can be reported to thePlayer Support team
If you are unsure whether or not Fortnite is appropriate for your child, 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.
The App Store says that users must be 12+ to play
Tips to help keep your child safe online when playing online games
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.
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.
Agree your own rules as a family when using sites, apps and games.
Manage your technology and use the settings available to keep your child safe.
TalkTalk customers can also use the 'Family Rules' features that come with ourSuperSafe Boostinternet security. Family Rules is a great tool which helps you to guide and set boundaries for your kids online in the same way you do in the real world.
Family Rules features
Set Time Limits for how much screen time you allow your kids to have to maintain a healthy balance.
App Control on Android devices gives parents the confidence of knowing that their kids are using only the apps they should.
Content Filter allows your children to explore the Internet safely. Access to harmful content is automatically blocked.
Using Finder means you can locate your child's device remotely and see the location on a map using the SuperSafe Account.
You can also remotely manage your kids devices allowing you to easily change the Family Rules settings.
TalkTalk customers can getSuperSafe Boostwith Family Rules for their smartphones, tablets and laptops for just £2 per month and it protects up to eight devices (it's worth £99 a year). To add it to your subscription justLog in to My Account, select the package and you will receive an email from F-Secure to install it onto your devices for full protection.