5 things parents should know about screen time
Fortnite online gaming concerns.
Despite the game having a PEGI rating of 12, it has come to our attention that many of our children, particularly in KS2, are playing a free online game called Fortnite.
Our main mains concern is that that Fortnight allows users to speak to other players of all ages from around the world, through voice and text chat functions, meaning that our children may be open to being contacted by strangers.
With this in mind, I have put together some information about the game that you might find useful along with potential risks and ways that you can help to keep your child safe.
You will, of course, make your own decisions about this for your child. However, should you decide to allow your child to continue to play, can I urge you to have an open and honest conversation with them about it and spend some time observing your child while they are playing.
If you have any further queries or questions about this or any other online safety issues, please do not hesitate to contact us.
What is Fortnite?
In Battle Royale, 100 players compete against each other to be the last person standing in player vs player (PVP) combat. Users play against people of different ages from across the world, and can talk and interact with each other as they play through the in-game chat feature.
What is Fortnite’s minimum age?
Fortnite has a PEGI rating of 12, PEGI have said this is due to the: ‘frequent scenes of mild violence. It is not suitable for persons under 12 years of age’. This PEGI rating only takes into account the content in the game and not the contact element, where players may be exposed to swearing and offensive language from strangers, either through audio or on-screen text chat and putting themselves at risk of being contacted by some unsavoury individuals.
How does it work?
In order to play Fortnite you have to create an account. To create this account you need to provide an email address (which you will have to verify) and display/user name. However, you are not asked your age in order to create an account. As Fortnite is an online game children will play against players of different ages from across the world.
What do parents need to watch out for?
• Chatting to strangers, giving abuse to, or receiving abuse from, other people, sharing personal information, in game purchases, animated violence.
What steps can you take to safeguard your child?
If opening account, it is important that they do not create a username that could give away any personal details. There is also no age verification process. Therefore, be aware of the risks if your child has, or wants to, open an account.
Fortnite offers three levels of privacy settings: Public, where anyone can enter your child’s online party; Friends, where only friends can join a party; and Private, which means that no one can enter your child’s party without being invited by the child themselves. Discuss the level appropriate to your child.
Fortnite also allows for Voice-Chat to be disabled. Make yourself and your child familiar with the game’s settings and, if you deem it inappropriate, turn Voice-Chat off.
Speak to your child about unwanted contact and tell them what to do if someone speaks to them in a nasty or inappropriate way, or asks them for personal information. Ask them to come to you if they are unsure about unwanted contact or have be exposed to something inappropriate.
How can you report inappropriate contact between my child and another player?
Fortnite offers an in-game feedback tool in the Main Menu of the game to report bad player behaviour. You can also email Epic Games, the creator of Fortnite, through their website – reporting any concerns you may have.
You can also seek advice and make a report to CEOP, Child Exploitation and Online Protection Command, through their online safety centre.
Always be careful when you are using the internet. It can help you to keep in touch with your friends and help your education – but it can also cause harm – to you and to others.
Remember help is always available at school if you are having any problems online.
Don’t be afraid to talk to your teacher or another adult at school.
If you or anyone you know is worried about Child Exploitation, Online Protection or anything related to Internet safety please click the link below which will take you to the CEOP reporting website:
Tips for staying safe online:
· Make sure you keep new online friends strictly online. If someone you don't know asks to be your online friend you must ensure an adult knows about it.
· Know how to use the CEOP Button and how to report it to the CEOP Centre if you are concerned about someone’s online behaviour towards you.