Is Fortnite making kids more aggressive? Probably not

Could Fortnite be making kids more aggressive in the classroom? A school in Gloucester thinks that the monolithic battle royale could be affecting the behaviour of the school’s kids.

Widden Primary School is inviting parents into the school to talk about the nature of the game.

Debbie Innes, the school’s deputy headteacher, spoke to ITV and claimed: “We’ve had a number of issues with some children who exhibit aggressive behaviour, using poor language and when we talk to them about where this has come from, quite a lot of some of the behaviours that we’ve seen recently have come from Fortnite.”

As someone who spent a decade writing about video games, this isn’t the first time an organisation has made a move against a video game because it’s popular. Children can occasionally behave poorly, and children can play video games. It seems unlikely they’re related here, but only because this sort of moral panic is near constant. 

There’s a more valid point, that the standard age for children to go to primary school is 7-11, and the age rating for Fortnite is 12. Parents should probably do the best they can to prevent their children playing games that are rated as unsuitable for them, but I’d be very sceptical at the claim that it’s directly making kids awful. 

Dr Jo Twist OBE, CEO of Ukie said: “Games are enjoyed safely and sensibly by millions of families in the UK and the recreational value of games is well-founded and widely recognised. Scientific research does not show that there is any link between playing video games and actual violence or that playing games de-sensitises people to violence.

“The games industry takes its responsibility to consumers, particularly children, very seriously. It provides parents and carers with a wide range of tools that can be used to limit the time spent playing and prevent access to age inappropriate content. We also recommend that parents and carers engage directly with the games their children are playing, talk to them about what they are doing in the game and even join in.

“We work hard to let parents and carers know about how to play games safely and sensibly through askaboutgames.com.”

Fortnite is a somewhat unique case, as perhaps the most ubiquitous game of all time, and so parents face more of an uphill battle to stop their kids playing it compared to say, Grand Theft Auto, but the key to having a responsible relationship with video games is open and honest communication and clear boundaries.

Fortnite is almost certainly not going to turn kids into the living embodiment of Satan, but it’s probably worth keeping an eye on them while they’re playing it.

Are you worried about the effect Fortnite is having on your children, or are kids just going to be kids? Let us know what you think on Twitter @TrustedReviews.