You know there’s an issue when Prince Harry, who has said in the past he’s enjoys XBox and PlayStation, calls for a ban of Fortnite, a popular video game.
Why Prince Harry wants Fortnite banned
The game, which has only been around a few years, is a contest to see who survives. A multiplayer game with 100 strangers being pitted against each other, the goal is to kill. Players find tools and weapons with one goal: to be the last player standing.
With more than 250 million registered players as of last month, there are around 10.8 million players online at any moment in the day.
Prince Harry told a crowd at a West London YMCA last week that there’s no reason to have Fortnite in a household, saying it is more addictive than drugs and alcohol and that the game is created to addict players.
Are kids addicted to online games?
The short answer to this is: yes.
The simple definition of a disorder is that a behavior continues, despite negative consequences which may occur because of it. The parents I’ve talked to would agree that using this definition, there are millions kids who fit this description with the consequences ranging from poor grades to fighting in the home, loss of privileges and more.
The World Health Organization has gone a step further, defining a gaming disorder which is a pattern of behavior characterized by “impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities … and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”
While gaming isn’t what we’d normally classify as a drug, technology has become what I call a “New Gateway Drug.” Under this definition, it includes games, social media, streaming sites and basically anything you can connect into through technology.
Is Prince Harry right?
There is ample research and evidence that shows an individual’s empathy is reduced and their aggression rises during and immediately after violent gaming.
So, is Prince Harry right to call for a ban of Fortnite?
Let’s look at meltdowns; they are a direct reflection of the brain being in a hyper-alert state which is known best as “fight or flight.” This comes as a result of direct involvement of being in competition, whether it is sports or violence.
The gaming industry has created micro-rewards which further exacerbate this response, pushing kids more and more to stay in the game. When the plug is pulled or the game ends, meltdowns can ensue because the reward is taken away. Also happening within this realm is the tribal mentality and the perception of letting down the tribe (players).
Another reason a ban on Fortnite makes sense: it rewards violence. The goal is to leave only one player standing. While this game may not be super realistic, it’s important to remember that video game violence has been known to influence real life crimes.
As kids play violent video games they have an increase in aggression and a reduction of empathy. This means that they are much more likely to yell, snap, break down or have outbursts and not care about hurting other people or think about how this impacts them. Longer term it can create reduced empathy with peers as well
How you can make sure your children are safe in gaming
We care about our future generation. The Digital Citizen Academy offers a Home Program designed to make it easier for you to keep you children safe online and make changes to online behavior. Learn more now.