Last Updated on 8th December 2020

What’s happening with Fortnite?

Fortnite just released its latest version of Battle Royale: Chapter 2, Season 5 which introduces several new areas on the map, items, and characters from the popular Disney TV show, ‘The Mandalorian’ (which includes the adorable Baby Yoda).

This latest version, like its predecessors, is not only lots of fun and highly addictive but also presents various risks to children and young people.

Whether you’re well acquainted with the challenges or a complete newbie who’s considering letting their children play Fortnite for the first time, our online safety experts have got you covered. They have tested the game and monitored the risks, to produce the following guidance for parents, carers, and safeguarding professionals.

If you’ve never heard of Fortnite, or want to refresh your memory, you can do so with our recent article, available here.

Season 5: Latest Features and (Potential) Risks

New In-App Purchases

Fortnite is forecast to make over $5 billion in 2020 generated through In-App purchases and selling ‘Battle Passes’, which offer users exclusive access to new features such as characters, skins (outfits), pets and discounted prices on other additions. So what’s in season 5?

Source: Fortnite Wiki (2020)

  • ‘Fortnite Crew’: this costs £9.99 per month and includes a Battle Pass, exclusive items, and V-Bucks. There are also various outfits, add-ons, and items that users can purchase

  • Users can also convert real cash into Fortnite’s in-game currency called ‘V-Bucks’. In the latest version, £15.99 will Buy 2,800 Fortnite V-Bucks

  • Items for sale in the ‘Item Shop’ have a time limit, adding a potential feeling of loss if purchases are missed. You should be aware that this could trigger impulse buying and that children and young people may feel peer pressure to have the latest items and cosmetics for their characters.

Source: Epic Games (2020)

Persuasive Design: ‘Just one more game!’

Fortnite makes full use of persuasive design features to captivate users and encourage repeated gameplay. The continued updates and changes contribute to the feeling that the game is always ‘active’ and users may experience fear of missing out or ‘FOMO’ if they don’t keep playing.

The game offers new maps, characters and tasks to encourage players to keep coming back, for ’just one more game’.

The latest release also includes two new additions for gamers which are likely to increase time spent on Fortnite:

  • Help for Hire: gamers play the role of a hunter to help characters with quests and bounties for in-game currency (gold bars).To gain more money, users can challenge their temporary employer to a duel

  • Spend your wages: complete quests and bounties, and get rewarded with gold bars. Our online safety experts think this will encourage more time spent on Fortnite

Remember, gaming is fun and can have real benefits for children. But it’s a good idea to talk to children in your care about mindful gaming and healthy screen time habits. Making agreements on time limits and regular breaks can help support their leisure time and wellbeing.

Top Tips:

  • Try making your own account to play Fortnite, this is a great way of learning how it works, and what you can expect

  • Making yourself a party master and adding the children in your care to a private group means any friend requests will need to be approved by you

  • Show children in your care how to mute the voice chat so they aren’t contacted by strangers or exposed to inappropriate language

  • Fortnite has been in the media on several occasions due to sex offenders attempting to contact children via chat functions, make sure children and young people in your care know how to protect their personal information online.

  • Check what a child or young person would do if something or someone made them uncomfortable online

  • Make sure children in your care know not to purchase anything in the item shop without your consent, even though they may feel pressure from online peers to have the latest items

There are many other features available in Fortnite, including ‘Creative Mode’ which removes all time constraints and pressure to play. To learn more about Fortnite sign up to our FREE upcoming webinar Back to Basics: Fortnite Battle Royale.

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For more information on the features and risks of Fortnite Battle Royale, join our Online Safety Experts on Thursday 10th December at 9.30am.

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