‘It’s like all he is thinking about is playing the game’ - children and the addiction to Fortnite

Has your son or daughter recently become addicted to Fortnite Battle Royale?

More and more parents have reported that their children just cannot stop playing the new fad in gaming - to the extent where some are becoming violent to their parents.

Jacob Godber, nine playing Fortnite pictured with Mum Zoe Godber

Jacob Godber, nine playing Fortnite pictured with Mum Zoe Godber

This has been the case for 40-year-old mother Zoe Godber, from Sutton-in-Ashfield, whose son Jacob has got “so addicted to Fortnite he broke his TV in anger”.

“Whenever I take it off him or ask him to stop playing and come downstairs, he becomes very agitated”, she says.

“It’s like all he is thinking about is playing the game.

“As soon as he comes to eat he will sit down, eat his food and then he is straight back upstairs again playing on it, and that is it for the night.”

Gameplay from Fortnite. The game is popular among children because there is no blood or gore.

Gameplay from Fortnite. The game is popular among children because there is no blood or gore.

9-year-old Jacob has been playing Fortnite since it became popular in July 2017.

It is a free-to-play game where gamers can play either solo, in a ‘duo’ or in a ‘squad’ - which consists of four people - on a 100-player server.

The aim of the game is to remain the last player or group alive when the time runs out - with the game’s ‘map’ getting smaller as the time goes on.

After playing one occasion, Jacob became so agitated at not winning the game he threw his controller at the television, smashing the screen.

This led to a big row with mum Zoe, forcing her to take away the game and stop him from playing - but it was at this point she saw the addiction.

“After I took the game away he watched other people playing it on YouTube, and he remained very angry with me at home while he didn’t have it.

“I said to him that if he kept misbehaving at home I was going to take away his controller and give it to the teachers at school until I felt he was ready to play it again, and when that happened he started misbehaving at school too.

“I suppose it was like taking his friends away”, she adds.

With the large size of the game’s servers it is evolving into a social hub for the children, meaning they network with people their age from different parts of the world.

“At the minute Jacob is playing regularly with a boy from America, and I’ve made sure everyone he contacts online is a child and that he is completely safe”, Zoe adds.

“My daughter is one year older than Jacob and she goes out regularly with her friends, however Jacob will choose to stay inside and play on Fortnite as long as he can be social.

“The thing with Jacob is that he is asthmatic, and so he knows that going outside for half an hour with his friends and running around might make him ill or tired.

“So I can actually see why he prefers to play it rather than go outside. It’s like his community”, she says.

Jacob is one of millions of children who live a social life through Fortnite, and with the popularity of the game on the rise it is likely that the community aspect is here to stay.