Fortnite: Is Prince Harry right to want to ban the game?


Duke of Sussex

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The Duke of Sussex spoke at length about mental health

Prince Harry called for the ban on Fortnite, claiming that the survival game loved by teens around the world was "created for drug addicts".

His words add to the growing debate among health workers, governments and lobby groups about whether gambling can be harmful to health.

The remarks come just before the Gaming Bafta Awards, one of the biggest gaming calendar nights in the UK, taking place in London on Thursday night.

But is he right?

What did Prince Harry say?

At an event in a YMCA in West London, the Duke of Sussex launched a scathing attack on social media and games.

About Fortnite, he said, "This game should not be allowed, what is the benefit of having it at home?

"It was created for addicts, to keep you as long as possible in front of a computer.It is so irresponsible.

"It's like waiting for the damage to be done and the children come to your door and the families are broken."

He added that social media was "more addictive than alcohol and drugs".

What is Fortnite?

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The game has become a global phenomenon and the goal is simple: to survive as long as possible. Each match has a total of 99 other players with the same goals and lasts about 20 minutes, depending on your success.

It has 200 million registered players worldwide and can be downloaded for free, but players can spend money on in-game purchases.

Players can play alone, as members of a team of four or 20 members, with friends or people they do not know.

What do the doctors think?

Earlier this month, a general practitioner told an 11-year-old boy that he was "prescribing" a two-week ban on computer games such as Fortnite and Minecraft.

Dr. Amir Khan said he was concerned about the impact of the game on the boy's life.

This was a mild attempt to draw attention to a serious problem, but anecdotally, more and more doctors are seeing links between play and the effects on the physical and mental health of young people.

And it's not just the young people who are affected. Research has shown that 200 divorces in the UK from January to September 2018 mentioned dependence on Fortnite and other online games as one of the reasons for the breakdown of their relationship.

However, Andrew Reid, a researcher at a Scottish university, said that he thought the game was not "addictive" and suggested that the use of this term might stigmatize gambling players classic video. He added that some research has shown "positive features of the game".

What do players say about addiction?

There are many players who play for long periods and who say that it has no impact on their social life or their health.

But some have enough.

Matus Mikus joined Game Quitters, an online forum consisting of thousands of people who turned their back on the game after breaking off his relationship because he was spending too much time playing.

James Good is an avowed game addict, having spent 32 hours playing without a break. The problem has led to falling behind in the university.

"My notes have slipped as a result of too many games, I have not eaten, slept, or left my room, I have escaped my problems through games," he said. he recently told a group of deputies.

And he said that playing provoked physical reactions.

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There are an estimated 32.4 million players in the UK.

"Games trigger reaction systems in your brain and other things do not bring you so much joy," he told MPs.

"I thought" Why should I spend time with my friends when I can play video games? "

"It was good to get points, trophies, beat the players, it fueled my competitiveness, but I realized that I was not really happy."

James admits that he became depressed, but did not just say that gambling was the root cause.

He added that playing in adolescence was not a problem because he had combined it with an active lifestyle, with the practice of sports and with scouting, and that his parents l? had helped manage his time.

Being without parental orientation at the university seems to be the trigger that made his game a popular activity in an obsession.

He also turned to Game Quitters and admitted to having withdrawal symptoms when he took on the following challenge: to urge new members to give up the game for 90 days.

"I had headaches, moods and I had to lock my computer in a closet," he said.

What is the vision of gaming companies?

The BBC has asked Epic Games, the makers of Fortnite, to comment, but has not yet received an answer.

The game is booming and the UK video game industry has a record value of £ 5.7 billion, thanks in part to Fortnite, according to new statistics released by Ukie, who said that there was "little evidence" that gambling has harmful health effects.

Jo Twist, Executive Director and President of Bafta Games, said, "We care about the players.

"We want to help parents and people who do not play games themselves feel better equipped and better informed about safe and responsible games, and about the positive impact these games can have on the lives of children. people."

She added that the age classification of games "should be taken seriously" and that parents and caregivers should use online resources to ensure that their children play responsibly.

Ukie cites research conducted by Professor Andrew Przybylski, an experimental psychologist at the Oxford Internet Institute, who said that only 0.3% of players might have difficulty controlling the time spent playing video games.

The World Health Organization does not agree and last year, excessive gambling was recognized as a mental health disorder.

Does the game require more scrutiny from the government?

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The Digital, Culture, Media and Sports Committee is currently interviewing players, gaming companies and other experts as part of its ongoing technology dependency investigation.

President Damian Collins told the BBC: "We have invited Epic Games, the company behind Fortnite, to testify as part of our investigation, which examines the addictive nature of the game, as well as the links between the game and the game.

"We hope Epic will accept our invitation, and we will certainly share with them the important concerns that Prince Harry has expressed about Fortnite and how they respond to his call for him to be banned."

But the UK is not the only one interested in the links between gambling and the health of young people.

China, the largest gaming market in the world, is increasingly concerned about addiction and the impact of games on the sight of children and has taken drastic action to combat this problem.

China's tech giant, Tencent, has tightened controls over the age of online gambling players, checking identities and ages against a police database.

Children under 12 can only play one hour a day. Older children can play up to two hours, but not during a night curfew.

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