Tech Tuesday: Fortnite, Your Son, And The Reality Of Online Gaming

On Tuesday, December 4, Allen-Stevenson parents took time out of their mornings to participate in Tech Tuesday: an hour-long discussion with our Library Tech Team, which this month focused on the pros, cons, history, concerns, and benefits of Fortnite: a popular multi-player online game sweeping the nation and the main point of discussion amongst a number of our boys.
Fortnite is a multi-player game where teams build defenses and participate in a “battle royale”; Winner takes all competition where 100 players fight to be the last person to survive. The game has been an international phenomenon and is one of the most popular social activities for boys this year. As such, there are a lot of pros, cons, and questions about the violence and addictive nature of the game. Concerns our Library Tech Team were happy to answer. 
“Essentially, Fortnite is this generation’s form of talking on the phone or logging on instant messenger,” said Digital Media Specialist Chris Caccamise. “There are some concerns, specifically around addiction, hurtful words spouted during the heat of competition, and the (cartoonish) level of violence, but Fortnite is a big part of how boys this generation come together socially. For better or for worse, there’s no game like it that has permeated so many different forms of entertainment and social spheres like Fortnite has."
Along with fielding several dozen questions about Fortnite, some of which can be read below, Mike Garey, Technical Support Specialist, also demonstrated ten minutes of gameplay. 
“Essentially, we can’t tell you whether you should or should not let your son play Fortnite. What we can do is give you the information to feel informed enough to make a well thought out decision, and to have a talk with your son regarding whatever decision you come up with,” said Library Tech Commons Director Sarah Kresberg.
Questions From Parents:
Q: “Can squads [teams] talk to one another?”
A: “No, your son can only talk to people inside of his squad over voice chat.”
Q: “How much violence is there in Fortnite?”
A: "The violence is cartoony. You are killing people. When they die they are taken away by a drone. There is no blood. No gore."
Q: “How is Allen-Stevenson handling conversations about digital addiction with the boys and Fortnite?”
A: “We talk about the problems and concerns with addiction as part of our digital fluency curriculum, so the boys are exposed to it from the beginning.”
Q: “Is my son safe playing Fortnite?”
A: “With any online game there is risk. It’s best to have your son play in an open space (like the living room),and talk with them about the game. Having an open conversation, instilling good online practices, and consistent dialogue, can go a long way. Teaching online safety doesn’t only happen at school, but at home, too.” “All video games have a suitability rating. Fortnite is rated T for teen."
Q: “Does Fortnite have a cost attached?”
A: “Yes and no. The game is free to play, but many boys want to buy something called a Battlepass, which allows them to buy gear, emotes (dances), and new outfits. Boys also collect what are called V-Bucks, the in-game currency of Fortnite, which you can get for free by playing or buying using your credit card.”  

Allen-Stevenson’s distinctive “enlightened traditional” approach educates boys to become scholars and gentlemen.