Battle Royale game Fortnite is the newest game to be under fire for video game addiction claims.
A Bloomberg article details the case of a boy named Carson, who’s 17 and has been playing Fortnite for 12 hours a day solid. Carson’s mother says his teachers complain of worsening grades and bouts of sleeping in class, and that she has never seen a game that has “such control over kids’ minds”. The article goes on to quote British behavioral specialist Lorrine Marer, who compares the game to heroin and claims it’s difficult to break Fortnite addiction once it starts.
According to Bloomberg, although Fortnite isn’t the first game to cause addiction, it has “created a more widespread menace”, with cases of addiction appearing against a backdrop of concerns over social media and smartphone overuse among young people. Video games are also cropping up as a citation on divorce petitions; around 200 divorce petitions this year cited Fortnite and other games as the reason for a marriage breakdown. Psychiatrist Paul Weigle, who says he has about 20 compulsive Fortnite players he’s seeing, thinks gaming addiction is “going to be more of a problem than it is now” as games become more sophisticated.
This news comes after the World Health Organization classified “gaming disorder” as a mental health condition back in June, sparking controversy and discussions about the issue among both the gaming and scientific communities; some scientists dismissed the classification, citing a lack of compelling evidence. It’s also worth keeping in mind the ongoing controversy surrounding loot boxes in gaming, which recently saw the FTC promise to launch an investigation on the basis that loot boxes constituted gambling. Some have warned that the payment systems in games like Fortnite are “predatory”, and could lead to children becoming addicted to gambling. This isn’t likely to be the last we hear on this issue, so we’ll keep you posted.
How do you feel about Fortnite and gaming addiction in general? Do you think some of these comparisons are hyperbolic? Let us know in the comments below!More About This Game