It has come to our attention, that many Year 6 pupils are currently playing the free online game – Fortnite.
You may or may not be aware about the dangers of this online game.
Firstly, the game has a rating of 12 due to the frequent scenes of violence. However, the nature of the game is that the players are in constant contact with strangers on the internet and therefore could be exposed to swearing and offensive language, through audio or on-screen text chat and also could be exposed to other potential dangers associated with talking to strangers online.
Secondly, and even more importantly, the game is highly addictive. We are aware of a number of students who are staying up far too late because they cannot stop playing the game. This leads to them being over-tired, irritable and lacking in concentration at school. At this stage in their childhood development, children should be getting between 9-11 hours of sleep per night. Having electronic devices in their bedroom will hinder this; leading to the symptoms mentioned above.
At South Park Primary School, we take internet safety very seriously and want to ensure that parents are fully aware about the dangers associated with this game.
May we also remind you that the age at which social media is allowed to be used is 13, therefore the use of apps such as Facebook, Instagram etc at this age is a violation of the End User Licence Agreement.
If you have any concerns or queries, please do not hesitate to speak to a member of the Year 6 team.
6 Top Tips for Parents
Limit game time
Parents can use parental controls on Xbox and PC to limit the time your child is playing games on the devices. Be aware that the game is available on iOS and will soon be available on all mobiles. With this in mind, it is worth parents having a conversation with their child to discuss and agree how long you would like them to spend on games. Even though the games last around 20 minutes, it may be hard to take them away from a game mid-play. It may be worth using a limit of the amount of matches they play rather than a time limit.
Restrict payment methods
Fortnite: Battle Royale is a free to play game, but there are still options to make additional purchases. If a parent does not want their child to make payments, ensure that a card is not associated with the child’s account. If a parent is happy for their child to make payments in the game, but want to limit spending, we suggest using a paysafecard, or a games console gift card. These can be purchased in specific amounts, which will limit how much a child spends and removes the need for a credit/debit card to be used with their account.
Show children how to make a report
If a child believes a player is playing or talking inappropriately, you should advise them to report them. To report a player, you can use the in-game feedback tool located in the Main Menu of the game. Additionally, a player can be reported in-game when spectating them.
Prevent them from talking to strangers
There is an option to turn off the voice chat feature, which means the child wouldn’t be able to talk to anybody, including their friends. They will still be able to use the in-app chat and hear other people’s conversations. To turn off voice chat, open the Settings menu in the top right of the main Fortnite page, then click on the cog icon. Open the Audio tab at the top of the screen. From there, you can turn off voice chat.
Look out for Vbuck scams
It is important that children are aware of the scams that they may come across online in association with the game. Open up a conversation with them about scams and how they should never share their username or password with people in order to gain anything for the game.
Use a strong password
It may seem like a simple tip, but it is important that a child selects a strong password when creating an account, particularly if a credit/debit card is associated with the account. This will help reduce the risk of their account being hacked.