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"Fortnite" concerns: doctors see children obsessed with gambling for health problems

Many parents are struggling with kids addicted to the "Fortnite" video game.

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Now, Boston doctors say they have seen young players with health problems, usually seen only in adults.

Hundreds of millions of users play "Fortnite". There is even speculation that excessive play would have made Red Sox pitcher David Price lose a start against the New York Yankees in the 2018 season.

But the 8-year-old mother of Aiden Molina is worried about her son. Aiden is obsessed with "Fortnite".

"When I think of 'Fortnite', it's like my life, because when I play a lot, I have a lot of eliminations," Aiden said.

The second grader is hung up and said to play the game for hours. Aiden's mother, Christen St. Pierre, admits that she is leading a losing battle in advance against the hugely popular video game.

"My son plays Fortnite pretty much every day, every day," she said. Saint-Pierre said the game was wreaking havoc on his family. "I thought" Fortnite ", oh, it's like any other game. But no, it's just, like, changing their behavior, their attitude. The challenge," said St Pierre.

According to Epic Games, the creator of "Fortnite", more than 200 million players are registered. "Fortnite" is freely downloadable and is constantly updated with new features. If you are not eliminated, each game lasts only 20 minutes. The players return in a loop, which makes things easier over long periods.

Dr. Lynne Karlson is a pediatrician general at Floating For Children Hospital at Tufts Medical Center.

She said she sees more and more patients struggling with video game problems, especially "Fortnite," including common problems in adults, from carpal tunnel to sedentary obesity.

"It's a major handicap in their lives because it hurts their sleep, and they often play late at night or get up early in the morning and they do not get enough sleep," Karlson said.

Epic Games now has a forum on its website that deals with young players suffering from high blood pressure.

"I've had children who are angry and I'm sure their blood pressure has increased at least for this period," said Dr. Kate Roberts. Roberts is a psychologist practicing in Wenham, Massachusetts. She found an increase in the number of children treated for a "Fortnite" addiction. Roberts said the game can change the personality and behavior of a child if he is allowed to play for an unlimited length of time.

"What's happening is that they're starting to feel like it.If they play for more than two hours, they get into this addictive mode.The dopamine in their brains starts to react to that, and when they come out, they have a drop due to the decrease in dopamine, basically it makes them angry, irritable, withdrawn, "said Roberts.

For the first time, the World Health Organization has identified gambling disorder as a mental health problem.

That's what St. Peter said to see with Aiden.

"He really needs to get out because his behavior and attention span are gone," she said.

Karlson recommends limiting the screen time of the child to two hours a day. If your child exhibits signs of isolation or depression because of "Fortnite", seek the help of a professional. You can also regulate your child's playtime and in-app purchases through parental control of the phone and most devices.

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