Fortnite – The Game That Changed my Son

It was December 2017 when my son, Nathan, started playing Fortnite. I was fed up of the sitting room being hogged by video games on the Xbox that for his Christmas I redecorated his bedroom and moved the console into his room. I was recovering from being in hospital and having the sofa and TV to myself was a bit of a luxury. But I made one of the biggest mistakes of my life entrusting my son with an Xbox in his room.

After Christmas was when I saw the first changes in him. He was away staying with family and would phone me every night saying he was home sick and needed to come home. The stories of why were vague but had connotations of abuse happening and neglect. When questioned he would shut down and go into his shell.

Then came January and the start of the new term, Nathan was ill. He could not stay awake, his eyes were sunken and dark, a red mottled rash appeared on his legs, he could sleep for 20 hour periods and had no short term memory recall. We had three trips to the hospital with him, once via ambulance. All tests came back fine but there was talk of chronic illnesses like mine manifesting early due to stress, and even talks of referal to Alder Hay Children’s Hospital.

It was one night when I got up to go to the bathroom I heard it. The quiet sounds of an Xbox controller clicking. The TV volume turned down so I would not hear. Nathan had been gaming all night long, for hours at a time and falling asleep playing the game so when I checked on him it looked like a seizure. He was waiting for me to go to bed and going back on Fortnite, after pretending to be asleep.  Then came the bank charges. Micro transactions of £7.99 for VBucks, transactions which totalled over £400.

My son, a boy once full of confidence and charm was now a shell of his former self, unable to leave the house, argumentative, moody, he lost all pride in his appearance and did not care about his friends and family.  School was now suffering and he had missed six weeks of school with not knowing what was wrong. I decided to home school him to help with his confidence and get him back on track.

The game was removed from the Xbox. We talked about gaming addiction, about the health dangers and watched interviews of parents saying how this free to play game changes their child. I allowed Nathan to go back on the Xbox at restricted times and kept to a timetable of home education. Slowly my boy started coming back.

Then came peer pressure. “But everyone else it playing it, why not me?” I was begged, not only by Nathan but by his friends too. After three months I gave in and allowed him to play again with strict guidelines. The changes happened overnight. He became agitated, aggressive, he questioned what I did and the things I asked him to do. Again, the game was removed. Stricter restrictions were placed on the Xbox and his devices to get online as if he was not playing the game, he was watching streamers or YouTubers play to get his fix. Yet again, my boy started coming back to me. Lost between the pixelated graphics.

In the last week I took a relapse and have not been well. Because I was ill I slackened the restrictions on the Xbox because Nathan told me he was enjoying watching a new anime series. I was happy for him to watch, but this evening, after sending him to bed, something didn’t quite feel right. I remotely accessed the Xbox console via my phone at 12.20am, over two hours since I had sent Nathan to bed and low and behold, he was playing Fortnite thinking I was asleep.

Flinging myself out of bed I heard the ping of the Xbox turning off as he thought I was going to the bathroom. Instead I lost my temper and have removed the Xbox completely. He cried, trying to claim I was taking away his friends and his life. My eleven year old son tried to emotionally manipulate me into giving him the Xbox. He likened it to cutting off his hair as he loved both the Xbox and having long hair.

I have now sent him to bed with no access to any devices or the internet. I got doors slammed on me for that – who unleashed the teenager 12 months too early?  I am disappointed, in both Nathan and myself. The process of rehabilitation to normal life has to start again.

This game, though bright and colourful is highly addictive. I am not adverse to computer games in the slightest, in fact my first business was running computer game events that lasted 48 hours, so I know the addiction. But Fortnite takes the issue of gaming addiction to a whole new level.  The media reports that universities in the states are giving out collage sponsorships based on your Fortnite ability, and even a live gamer leauge with prize money of $10million. Then there are the children being forced into rehab centres and needing medical care because of the addiction to this game. That could quite easily be Nathan. Newspapers and the media are quick to judge the parenting, putting that at fault above the addictive nature of the game.  The games, filled with adrenaline release brain chemicals which make the gaming time seem euphoric. The players want to remain in that bubble, with real life feeling slow and sluggish. That is not down to parenting, that is down to the game creators who are making millions of the 40 million strong player audience across the globe. The game is discussed in mainline media with celebrities seen doing the game taunts and dances. They have got a full generation brainwashed due to one, simple, free to play game. As a parent who has seen how damning this game is first hand, this needs to stop.

It’s actually horrifying what lengths children will go to feeling they need to play. This is where hard-core addictions in adulthood stem from and it should be stopped and addressed sooner rather than later.

Have you had issues with this game? Leave your comments below, I would love to hear from you.

Love, hugs and flossing

V x

9 thoughts on “Fortnite – The Game That Changed my Son

  • I could take the name Nathan out, insert the name Lucas and that would literally be the only change I would need to make. You would then have the story of my grandson. I have never seen a game other than poker take over someone’s life, such as Fortnight has. This game seriously needs to disappear.

    • having the same exact issues with my son I have such a totally different kid now I used to have such a sweet caring loving little boy love to play outside and play with his friends now he’s distant angry agitated doesn’t want to do any of the school work me too started homeschooling he kept pulling this guilt trip that his his sisteris and he wanted be homeschooled too I agreed to at first it wasn’t too bad and it got worse and worse harder and harder to get him to do his work he’d start arguing lashing out at me his sisters and stepfather saying he hates his life doesn’t want to live this is not my little boy there needs to be something done about a week ago he himself had even said I’m deleting the game because I’m sick of being angry so I thought you know awesome he’s being mature about this that next day he’s on the game again this is two days later I deleted it off there myself but it’s sad that he can see himself that he can see the change but the addiction of the game just pull him right back in

  • I have 4 boys as of last year around maybe October they were allowed to download this game. My 10 year old was never really cared to play it but, would get on here and there. But my 9 year he’s the one I’ve worried I also have a 5 year old who’s managed to learn the game because of the 9 year old he finds a way to play. Before being allowed to download this game. My kids have never been able to play video games strictly play baseball year round. Until the grandparents got them a ps4. My 9 year old since he’s started this game. He’s changed…attitude, tantrums and rages!!! This 9year old who would just be a kid is now addicted to this game I even have to unplug the console because he would get mad for losing…as of today we deleted the game & he will no longer be allowed to play this game ever again! This game is addicting!!!

    • It is addicting. We have set strict limits on game time now, but I am pleased to say that there are newer games coming to market which have pulled him away from Fortnite, so he is not glued to it 24/7. Hopefully it will die a death, like fidget spinners!

  • I’m amazed, I have to admit. Seldom do I encounter a blog that’s equally educative and engaging, and let me tell you, you’ve hit the nail on the head. The issue is an issue that too few folks are speaking intelligently about.

    I’m very happy I came across this in my hunt for something relating to

  • I hate this game and what it has done to my relationship with my son. How do we get all kids to go outside and play again?!?!

    • This is a very good question, my son is becoming fearful of going out and playing with others. I am hoping that moving to a new house soon may make a difference. We have put in very strict times that he can access the internet, and it does seem to be working.

  • Today I am at my witsend with this game. I deleted the game off the ps4 my 10 yr old son has COMPLETELY changed he used to be such an energetic loving caring sweet boy now hes distant angry short fused and just a different kid all around. He hasnt been sleeping at night I catch him going back on the game once wer all asleep. It’s a fight just to get him to do his school work. Today he tells me he hates his life n wants to kill himself well that was the end of that i had enuff THIS IS NOT MY LIL BOY. So that game is BAND from this house n I think it should be band all together from being played. I want my lil boy back n dont know what to do to get him back

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