The Fortnite Obsession: Here’s What Parents of Kids With ADHD Should Know
If you’ve got gamer kids, then you’re probably very familiar with the game Fortnite. The online, multiplayer shooter game is immensely popular, with an estimated 50 million people logging in play every month. One of the biggest draws is that the game is free and available across all multiple platforms. And even though it is a shooter game, the violence is definitely more cartoonish than other shooter games, like Call of Duty. It’s fast-paced and engaging, which also contributes to its appeal among young gamers. But for parents of kids with ADHD, there may be some concern about the addictive quality of the game. If you’re the parent of an ADHD kid, here’s what you should know about Fortnite.
According to Randy Kulman, PhD, Fortnite seems to be especially attractive to people with ADHD.
Kulman wrote an article for ADDitude magazine about the appeal. He says, “The high level of risk, the need to remain alert for external distractors, and the opportunity to use hands-on skills for building make Fortnite and ADHD a natural match.” There’s research to suggest that the high incidence of ADHD can be linked to evolution. People with ADHD tend to be risk-takers, and excel at exploration and sharing information. These are all qualities that make a player successful in Fortnite, which is why this game is particularly well-suited for kids with ADHD.
But, kids with ADHD can get easily hyperfocused on the things that interest them, video games included. If you allow your child to play Fortnite, make sure you’re taking some precautions.
Remember, while the violence depicted in the game is cartoonish, it is STILL violent. Players use weapons to “kill” other players. The game is recommended T for teen, but even some older kids may not be equipped to process the imagery and action in Fortnite. Supervise your kids when they play, to get an idea of how they handle it.
Kids with ADHD can get sucked into a game like Fornite really easily, and become obsessed with playing. This is why it’s so important to set limits, especially with kids who have addicting qualities to their personality. In his article, Kulman described a teenage boy who was referred to him after becoming withdrawn and secluded from friends. The 13-year-old spent most of his time playing video games! A Fortnite campaign can last 20-25 minutes, but it’s not uncommon for users to spend hours playing back to back to back games. Set time limits on their game playing, or consider have tech-free blocks of time throughout the week. Their game playing shouldn’t interfere with their usual responsibilities or school work, and it’s very easy for ADHD kids to get sucked into playing too much.
Fortnite also has a chat function. That can be great for kids who struggle with social interaction. It allows them to team-build and work with others, and may be a more comfortable form of communication for them. But, it means they can also chat with strangers, which would make any parent uneasy. Set very firm boundaries on who they can chat with, and supervise their games to make sure they’re following the rules.
As with any video game, Fortnite has its pros and cons. For parents of kids with ADHD, there’s an added layer there to consider.
(Image: Epic Games)