An expert in Fortnite I am not!  Hear about it, oh, yes!  As I have learned about the new game that is all the rage in many children’s lives three things struck me particularly:

  1. I can see why the kids are talking about it. The techy creators of the game are really skilled at what they do.  “Draw players and hold them” is surely an objective of those who make the games and they seem to do it very well. They have kids talking about the game with great enthusiasm whenever they get a chance.
  2. The voice of the promoter sounds like a nineteen year old girl with a very pleasant voice who was quite excited and articulate about the game. The words rolled off her tongue so easily and had the sound of goodness and implied a speaker with a good deal of intelligence.
  3. The content presented by her pleasant voice did not match the excited inflection from my worldview. She spoke articulately of “A maze of death that will do the dirty work (of killing) for you!” and “You can craft hundreds of weapons, melees to heavy arsenals of weapons.”

Now, I don’t want to condemn the game lock, stock and barrel.  It appears to have little connection to porn, and the inappropriate language is more on the part of the users who comment online as they play it seems.  Killing and eliminating others are a constant in the game, but all those killed that I could see were fat and ugly, does that help?  (I’m not sure if I’m trying to be funny there or not.)

Still, by their fruit you will know them.  If you have stuck with me this far, you may be interested in the fruit of the game in our school.  Let me list them in the order of priority as I see them:

– TIRED kids – more than just a few at many grade levels admit playing well into the night.

– Spirit of deception – there is a phone app in addition to the IPad, PC and XBox versions, kids report it is easy to sneak into their room so they can play at night. (Deterioration of trust and relationship with parents through deception.)  By the way the game is free in the beginning levels.

– Exclusion – in the game, you can resurrect friends who have been “eliminated”.  Some kids never get resurrected.

– Some kids get stalked in the game and killed frequently….and then see the bullet above.

– BUZZ- when you play this game a few times, you get a better at it and you are congratulated by the nice woman and lots of points and whatever else they use to create a “screen high”.  It gives the human spirit a real BUZZ.  How do your chores measure up to that?  Homework?  (I’m not a promoter of a life bereft of joy, but ……the science of screen addiction, endorphins in large doses in frequency lead to a captivity worthy of a lot more study.  The science of the effect of screen use is coming in and it is looking like a tough pill to swallow.)

I’m sure in a while this too shall pass, but in the meantime, as a faculty who work with your children, it is a good thing to make sure you know about the game.  Moving forward I’d appreciate two things.

  1. If your child hasn’t started it, wait at least until summer hits to let them begin if you think it a good thing for them.
  2. Secondly, set boundaries for use of the game. Some of our kids are proving on a daily basis they don’t have the intellectual gray matter, strength of will and discretion to use the game well on their own.

What fruit is the game bringing to your family?

I realize a negative take on a game that so many of our kids are spending hours on may not tickle the ears of you who have the challenge of navigating the culture with your kids.  One of our teachers who asked a few questions about the game received very strong responses from the kids about how good the game was.  They did not respond, “Crucify her!” but the strength of their response reminded me just a bit of that strong response from long ago.

Which brings us to another skill to work on, having civil discussions.  We all have a lot of work ahead of us don’t we?  May the Good Lord guide us and may we receive well the graces of vocation to make wise decisions and help our children and families grow in the path of holiness.

I’d like to close with a line from Fortnite, which I find interesting that they use in a fantasy game. I find it in reality through my Catholic faith.  “Build the ultimate fort and use it to withstand all the bad things the storm will throw at you.”  Lord, we need you, bless us and help us discern signature

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