EAST PROVIDENCE (WPRI) — You’re not alone if you think your child is obsessed with Fornite.
The popular online game is played by millions on nearly every device.
“I’ve had four patients in a row tell me about Fortnite,” said child clinical psychologist Rany Kulman.
That’s not uncommon according to Kulman. While many parents may think their child is addicted to the game, the truth is that is very rare.
Kulman tells Eyewitness News that many kids are obsessed with game though.
“If you win when you play a slot machine, but you don’t win a lot but you’re really close to a jack pot, you’re going to keep playing,” Kulman said explaining how the game feeds obsession. “Well the same thing happens with Fortnite. That’s probably one of the main reasons kids keep coming back and they have a hard time stopping.”
Despite the obsession and rare addictions, Fortnite isn’t necessarily bad thing in moderation. That’s because playing in a virtual world can expand a child’s imagination in a different way.
“Digital play makes kids far more creative than old fashioned play,” he said. “It’s really how they share interest with many of their peers. Digital play is important, but they need to have a balance. Parents need to work at making that happen.”
Kulman works with Ryan Smith on Learning Works for Kids. They teach kids how to apply lessons from the game and use them in the real world.
“As were playing these games every week we teach new things like time management organization or working memory,” said Ryan Smith. “We reflect after what we did wrong and what we did right.”
Kulman also stresses screen time is often set by the parents. If parents are using their screens a lot, they’re setting an example for their kids.
“They need to make it happen for their kids,” he said. “They need to spend money on their kids. They need to take their kids to swimming lessons, have a family game night playing a board game. Not that digital play is bad but they need to have other things.”
If parents are concerned their child is truly addicted to video games such as Fortnite, here are some of the things to look out for according to Kulman:
- Truly interfering with a child’s life
- Interfering with school work
- Child is not interested in doing things with other people
- The game creates struggles in their relationships