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Parents suing Fortnite for being as ‘addictive as cocaine’

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MONTREAL (KRON) – A Canadian law firm has filed a class-action lawsuit on behalf of the parents of two children who are allegedly addicted to Fortnite.

The lawsuit filed by Calex Légal compares Fortnite to cocaine and tobacco, claiming that Epic Games, the game’s creator, “knowingly put on the market a very, very addictive game which was also geared toward youth.” 

The parents claim Fortnite causes the brain to release dopamine much in the same way as taking drugs like cocaine, which results in a chemical addiction, according to the lawsuit.

Dr. Robert Keder, of Connecticut Children’s Medical Center, said Fortnite, like cocaine, hits the pleasure center of the brain.

“Any drug, alcohol right, hits that part where you get a reinforcement out of it,” Keder said.

Much of this lawsuit is based on a previous one from 2015 against tobacco companies, in which the Quebec Superior Court ruled that companies did not do enough to warn customers about the dangers of smoking.

In this case, the lawsuit alleges Epic Games knew Fortnite was “dangerously addictive” but did not warn players of the risks associated with playing.

Many players said they see those risks.

“I have heard some kids slamming their mouse and keyboard or throwing their controller at the ground, and I do think for some kids it’s very addicting because they want to win, and they have that drive to win so badly,” said player Liam Taft.

Earlier this year, the World Health Organization officially recognized “Gaming Disorder” in its International Statistical Classification of Diseases or ICD-11.

While Fortnite includes a waiver to stop people from being part of a class-action lawsuit, Calex Légal claims that, in Quebec, it would be negated by the Consumer Protection Act, which requires companies to warn customers about potential risks, like addiction. 

At this time Fortnite is rated T for Teen in Canada, meaning it’s only meant for those ages 13 and up.

Doctors suggest that parents sit down with their children and watch them play and see how they react when they lose. Their actions will help identify how invested they are in the game.

John Monnes said he watched his children play.

“It’s interactive,” he said. “You have other players with it, and I enjoyed watching him play it. It’s pretty entertaining.”

Monnes said he’s glad that they aren’t fixated on just the shooting game.

“He rotates games,” he said. “He plays other games like FIFA and Madden; it’s not the only thing he does. So, I know he’s not completely obsessed with that one game.”

Microsoft also has a monitoring service and will send subscribers weekly updates of how long their kids are playing.

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