by Adam Holz

Fortnite is a video-game sensation that’s swept the globe since its release last year. It seems like everyone plays it, including NBA players, pop stars and YouTube celebrities who stream games on their channels.

The first version of Fortnite resembled Minecraft. In “Save the World” mode, players built fortifications from elements that they mined out of the ground while battling zombie-like monsters called husks.

Then Epic Games released the free-to-play Fortnite Battle Royale. That’s when the game really exploded! No zombies here. Instead you battle 99 other players online. You’ve got to scramble to find weapons and ammunition so you can eliminate everyone else.

Clearly, Fortnite Battle Royale isn’t like Minecraft at all. This version looks more like a first-person shooter game. The violence is somewhat cartoony and never graphic... but it’s still a shooter. To do well, you have to constantly plot how to kill the other guy before he gets you. That should give you cause to pause. And it’s why many families stay away from the game.

The biggest concern about Fortnite is that it seems especially addicting. Battle rounds end quickly, and it’s easy to play another. And another. And another, especially if you get eliminated early.

Like most online battle games, Fortnite lets you communicate with other players through a headset. You don’t have to use this feature—in fact, we recommend you don’t. If you do, make sure you only play with friends you already know. Games can get intense, and many players respond with bad words and cruel insults.

With all of these concerns, think about playing safer, less addictive video games than Fortnite. Maybe a sports or racing game. Your parents can give you suggestions. Or you could turn off the screen and head outside to build a real fort with your friends.

“People are slaves to anything that controls them.” —2 Peter 2:19, NIrV

When we talk about video games, we often mention the possibility of getting addicted. So how do you know if a game is taking hold of you? The apostle Peter makes it simple: If anything controls you, you’re addicted to it. You think about it all the time. It’s the only thing you really want to do.

When you’re not playing Fortnite, do you think about playing it? Do you wake up early to play it and then play until the moment you go to bed?

If that’s happening in your life, let someone know. Maybe it’s not this video game. If any activity is taking up all your brain space, you need to talk to your parents or a pastor. They can help you make a change.

Copyright © 2018 Focus on the Family's Plugged In. Image © Epic Games.