Kildare mum worried over son (9) getting 'addicted' to Fortnite video game

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Kildare mum worried over son (9) getting 'addicted' to Fortnite video game
14:56 Thursday 12th of April 2018

A Co Kildare mother has contacted KildareNow about her concerns about the addictive nature of a new video game craze sweeping the county.

Children in thousands of homes have become pre-occupied with Fortnite: Battle Royale - which is affecting exercise, meal times, sleep and homework.

Some youngsters are apparently no longer interested in leaving their bedrooms and may become even aggressive and moody when told their 'screen time' is over.

Games typically last around 20 minutes but children can actually send several hours a day playing the game.

Since its release last September, the game has seen over 40 million downloads to PCs and video game consoles.

Parents and experts are worried that its violence - each player has to 'kill' 99 other players to win - may have an unhealthy impact on children.

However defenders of the game praise its impressive graphics and say it's very interactive and social in nature as gamers are constantly chatting to friends simultaneously on their headsets.

One mother's story

One Kildare mother, who contacted KildareNow, complained: "Fortnite has taken over my house. My son is 9 but I’ve never seen him get as obsessed with anything before this game.

"He was into Minecraft and Fidget Spinners but this is a whole new level!

"He spent the whole Easter holidays on the bloody thing. When the big snow came, he hardly even looked at it...!

"He's still playing up to midnight or later every night if he's allowed and he climbs out of bed at 6 am on a weekend to play as well. 

"He's constantly tired in the morning when getting up for school.

"Like an addict, he organises his life around it. He'll race through homework to get online. He has even tried to pretend to be sick so he can stay home from school to play it.

"When the snow came a few weeks ago, he went out of his bedroom for about 10 minutes to see it and that was it - straight back to his bedroom.

"Easter went past him in a flash as he had little time for eggs or egg hunts, which he normally loves.

"And they say the game is 'free' but you have to pay for updates and he's constantly pestering me to use my card. And of course all his pocket money goes on the game too."

"When I try to take him off it he kicks up such a stink it's nearly easier to just leave him on it.

"I'm at the end of my tether on this! Does anybody have any suggestions on what to do?"

Gaming disorders 

Meanwhile, it has emerged that those who play video games compulsively for long periods of time may be diagnosed with a health disorder.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) characterised a gaming disorder as a "pattern of persistent or recurrent gaming behaviour" both online or offline.

Notable traits include patients prioritising gaming over "life interests and daily activities and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences".

Patients must have shown symptoms for at least a year before diagnosis.

The WHO guidelines form the basis for identification of health trends and statistics globally and are the international standard for reporting diseases and health conditions.

They are used by medical practitioners, including doctors and nurses in the 100 countries were WHO is recognised, to diagnose conditions and by researchers to categorize conditions.

The inclusion of a disorder can shape national healthcare budgets and insurance policies.

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