Fortnite – A Gamer’s Paradise
The recent 60 Minutes episode (view here) has triggered a firestorm of opinions and perspectives on gaming. It doesn’t take long as a psychologist to start hearing about this conflict in sessions.
Parents often feel stuck and left asking how it has happened that their child has become wrapped up in an online world that feels out of their control.
I’ve never minded an occasional game myself but now steer clear because time demands as a husband, father and self-employed psychologist keep me with enough to do. In saying that, I have noticed an interesting trend in the gaming world. A number of games are now using increasingly sophisticated strategies to behaviourally shape their gamers to want more. They offer:
- A connection/bonding with peers and other gamers in the world through an experience of camaraderie and teamwork
- Personal investment in the game that push increased involvement otherwise, you face consequences – such as not playing for a certain amount of time or losing rewards
- Increasingly longer game time without breaks – meaning it is harder to separate from the game when other demands or distractions (such as parents) come into the picture
In short the gaming companies want to build their product so well that they can make a healthy profit and keep their gamers as engaged as possible. But at what cost?
In households where games are played upwards of 1-2 hours a day I frequently hear of arguments, conflict and avoidance behaviour patterns. This can contribute to school refusal, lack of involvement in family activities, constantly negative interactions with parents or siblings and increased anxiety, mood problems and sleep issues.
So do we just say stop?
Let’s run these issues past a test first. Parents have some key responsibilities in how they care for their children. In a nutshell, I think 3 of the biggest responsibilities they have are:
- Teach emotional maturity
- Show what is right from wrong
- Protect their children
So, will playing a game such as Fortnite or even a high level of screen use promote emotional maturity, show what is right from wrong and protect a child?
That is a question every family should ask before they consider what is the right amount of time and what expectations are fair.
At See Hear Speak we offer guidance and support to families struggling to comprehend the best approach to online use. We have very specific and targeted strategies that may be able to help your family.
For more information please get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org or 0416 190 434.
Dr Andrew Wilkinson