Michelle Maltais, editor-in-chief of USA TODAY magazine, and Sierra Filucci, editor-in-chief of Common Sense Media, share ways to manage your household's attachment to media and electronic devices.

How young is too young to let your child play "Fortnite"?

This is a question that parents ask themselves and their friends. Assuming they are calm at the beginning by letting their child participate in a third-person shooter game that is played by more than 200 million people in the world, but not all, of course, of school age.

You certainly can not blame these parents who consider "Fornite" as a threat.

"There is no doubt that" Fortnite "is the main media and technology issue for today's kids, and certainly their parents," said Jim Steyer, CEO of Common Sense Media, a group of defending non-profit rights for children and families. USA TODAY & # 39; HUI.

Parents worry about exposing children to violence and a whole series of strangers. They lament all the loot that kids spend in Vbucks virtual currency that allows them to buy cosmetic "skins" and dances ("emotes") for their characters. All this is so much money that the publisher Epic Games has raised more than $ 1.2 billion.

The exhibition "Fortnite" at the Electronic Entertainment Expo E3 at the Los Angeles Convention Center on June 12, 2018. (Photo11: Christian Petersen, Getty Images)

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In addition, "Fortnite" is apparently everywhere because the versions can be read on smartphones, tablets, personal computers, Mac computers and video game consoles.

It has become so serious that children are not only compulsively trying out at Battle Royale in living rooms and bedrooms, but also in classrooms. And the "Fortnite" addiction has become such a thing that Bloomberg recently reported that parents were pushing children into rehab.

Parents who feel engaged in a lost battle against Fortnite are turning to addiction treatment programs. (Photo11: Epic Games)

Michael McCullough, a father of six in Falls City, Nebraska, said he cut his sons' 14 and 10-year-old gambling after he and his wife found out that their older son had debited more USD 300 on a credit card. without their permission.

"It's addictive, literally," McCullough said. "The" Fortnite "reward system mimics the psychological response that we get from the game."

"Fortnite" does not only distract children, but also professional athletes.

"Fortnite", now my competitor. "Fortnite" is tougher than the Boston Celtics, "said New York Knicks coach David Fizdale at The Athletic in December.

The positive side of Fortnite

Steyer also sees a positive side. Children often go to friends and "Fortnite" can help them develop their team spirit.

Epic would not comment on this story, but "Fortnite" is noted "T "for Teen's Entertainment Software Rating Board or ESRB, mainly due to violence (shots, explosions, screams of pain). He receives the "12" rating from the Pan-European Game Information Group, known as PEGI. Common Sense Media recommends 13-plus.

In an online survey of Survey Monkey and Common Sense Media last fall, 10% of parents chose 8 years, 16% chose 10 years, 15% chose 12 and 11% 13. older.

Age guidelines are just that – guidelines – and every family and every child brings a different dynamic. What is the maturity of your child? Does the child play at the expense of physical activity? Can we trust him to respect the deadlines imposed by the parents?

Set limits

"As a parent of an 11-year-old and a 9-year-old who has played many games over the years and from the same age, I fully understand how exciting, exciting games are. entertaining and addictive like "Fortnite" can be, "said Deb Sharratt, a British blog called" My Boys Club. "" The most important thing for a parent is to take the time to understand the game and its impact on his child. "

Regardless of their age, parents should set limits. Maybe your kids only play on weekends and after completing their homework. Or only if their grades are good enough.

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Australian mother Sally Hughes even suggests starting the kids on "Fortnite" with a designated test period. "So you have an exit if it does not work for you," she says.

Above all, experts recommend having an open dialogue with your children. Remember to play them in a common area of ​​the house.

And of course, play with them. You are certainly old enough.

How do you decide when your kids are ready – or not ready – for some of the popular games? Share your impressions with Ed Baig by email at [email protected] or on Twitter. @edbaig.

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