One key thing for all to share at this time of year, is if you are buying a games console this Christmas, please set it up with the correct controls prior to Christmas morning – this will save time, reduce stress on a busy morning and hopefully avoid these settings being skipped and not set up correctly.
The most popular video game currently being played by children and young people is Fortnite. For those of you who don’t know much about it Fortnite is a Battle Royale Online game. This involves 100 players battling each other on an island with the aim of being the last man standing. While the aim of the game is to kill one another the game doesn’t feature any blood or gore and has a cartoon feel to the graphics and animations.
Fortnite currently has over 80 million registered users worldwide playing the game. Please note the recommended age rating for Fortnite is 12 years of age.
Rarely does a week go by without hearing about scare stories in the tabloid press and media about the so called dangers of children playing the game. The majority of these stories more often than not tend to be made up or if true extremely exaggerated. That’s not to say that the game doesn’t have its risks though. The most worrying of these risks is children playing the game with strangers and using in game voice chat to communicate with one another. Online chat can be muted and turned off in game and we always recommend that children and young people turn off this option.
Sadly the option to turn off text chat in game is not possible at this stage. We are aware off and know children being bullied by other players and the language used by other players can be very explicit and offensive at times.
There has been lots of reports of children and young people being targeted by online predators while playing the game. These reports tend to be based on hearsay accompanied by quotes by the national crime agency that online games popular with children could potential be targeted by predators. We agree that the potential is there the same as with any popular space, game and app used by children and young people
Some of you might of heard of a so called Fortnite craze called Strip Fortnite. Some of the tabloid newspapers have been running stories about children playing the popular video game Fortnite and taking off items of clothing for every kill they get in the game. The reports also claim that children are streaming footage of themselves stripping off online.
These reports while claiming it’s going on don’t actually have any evidence that children are taking part and a lot of the reports do seem to be the usual scare stories you get at this time of year in relation to popular video games that will be on children’s and young people’s Christmas wish lists.
However it should be noted that Strip Fortnite is being played by some popular YouTubers who are uploading videos on to their YouTube channels. These videos tend to feature adult males playing the game with their girlfriends who take off items of clothing for every kill their boyfriends get. YouTube has a strict policy when it comes to nudity and these videos rarely get to the stage of full blown nudity and when they do they tend to be censored. The videos tend to be more suggestive then explicit. Some female YouTubers have also made these type of videos as well to tempt people to watch their content.
These videos are being made as clickbait to tempt people to watch their YouTube channels as the more people viewing the more money they can make.
These so called Strip games are nothing new and we’ve seen Strip FIFA being played in the past. The tabloid newspapers tend to hear about them and then run stories about children taking part. The evidence they run is always hearsay and rarely has any proof that it is happening.
What is clear though is children and young people do enjoy playing Fortnite and watching others play Fortnite on YouTube, Twitch and Mixer. So it is reasonable to expect that some of them will of watched a Strip Fortnite video some may even be tempted to copy what they have seen.
What we need to do is to talk to children and young people and educate them on the potential risks and dangers of copying these videos. We also need to work with parents and provide them with the correct information about certain video games, there content and issues around what’s age appropriate.