The obsessive impact of Fortnite on kids, and what parents can do about it

Health

The action-packed survival of the fittest engaging video game  is scoring big with fans worldwide.  

“The latest count is that 45 million people are playing Fortnite which is greater than the entire population of Canada,.” says Child and Adolescent Psychiatrist, Dr. Paul Weigle with Hartford Healthcare.

Fortnite Battle Royale has pro sports teams like the Boston Red Sox playing between games and travel

But kids are gamers too.

Mom Christine Landino says, “She’s obsessed with the game.”  

She’s frustrated with her daughter, who is obsessed with the free and addictive pastime. 

“While she’s playing,” Landino describes, “She and her friends get so involved in the game and get caught up that if they lose, or they don’t have enough v-bucks to spend, it becomes a fighting match and she gets a little loud.”  

It’s for ages 13 and older – her daughter is 10.

Landino says, “All her 10 year old friends play it and even younger.”

Dr. Weigle with Hartford Health Care prescribes that parents set healthy and manageable limits and stick to them,  “It has a lot of violence in it.  It’s somewhat cartoon violence but there are significant negative mental health affects that can occur with excessive violent gameplay like increased aggression.” 

Excessive play can also lead to overworked hand and wrist muscles.

 “Pain typically at the side of the wrist where the thumb meets the wrist on this portion,” says Dr. Christopher Judson, Orthopedic Surgeon at HHC.  

Red Sox Pitcher David Price reportedly gave up Fortnite at the ballpark — after media reports suggested that his mild symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome could be linked to it. 

Dr. Judson says stretching and taking breaks can help prevent injury, demonstrating, “That means trying to stretch the wrist back like so, trying to flex it down, stretching the fingers out into an extension and inflexion, making sure they’re keeping the motion going. And then certainly in a wrist flex position and extended like so.”   

Landino says things are improving, “What Mom says goes, that’s starting to work a little better.”

And is already gearing up for the next craze, “Oh yeah, because she went through the same thing with Minecraft, Roblox and I’m sure there will be something else, soon.”  

Dr. Weigle says for most kids, it’s an enjoyable and a harmless habit. 

Parents he says — need to remember that those who resist limits, are actually the ones who need them the most.

Web Extra: Dr. Paul Weigle answers some of your questions on the addictive nature of Fortnite

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