Home

 › 

Reviews

 › 

Fortnite Parents Guide: Should You Let Your Kid Play?

Fortnite on PC computer

Fortnite Parents Guide: Should You Let Your Kid Play?

Ever since Fortnite launched in 2017, it’s been one of the most popular games in the world. With more than 400 million registered players by 2021, this number has only grown over the last two years. According to recent reports, Fortnite often sees more than 200 million monthly players, with daily averages sometimes reaching as high as 25 million. 

With numbers this high, there is a strong likelihood that while many adult gamers play Fortnite regularly, children are just as present. As a third-person shooter, there has been plenty of debate over the years as to whether or not this title is safe for children. Some parents won’t want their children playing any shooter games while others might be okay with the cartoonish nature of Fortnite

Given this debate, let’s take a deeper look into the realities of Fortnite to help parents make an educated decision on whether this game is safe to play. 

What Do You Do In Fortnite? 

At its core, Fortnite is a battle royale game that drops players into matches full of 100 people to be the last person standing. Fortnite helped popularize the battle royale genre including the idea of shrinking “safe” areas of a map. However, Fortnite has since grown into a game that is full of different ways to play. 

As of 2023, there are dozens (and dozens) of different ways to play Fortnite. Many of these gameplay options have been popularized by its “creative” mode. These sandbox-style matches allow players far more freedom than in the battle royale mode. Players can create platforming challenges, race courses, and bounty modes, as well as play different seasons. Each season introduces a new story with updated characters, in-app purchase options, weapons, vehicles, and more. 

No matter the game mode, players can use a “pickaxe” or a variation of that based on in-app purchases to knock down structures and build up defenses. Using metal, brick, and wood, building fortifications in Fortnite is one reason why the game quickly caught on with the public. 

Is Fortnite Safe for Kids?

Gameplay

The answer to the question of whether Fortnite is safe for kids is going to be very subjective. There is no doubt this is a combat game with numerous gun types available and shooting your opponent is the main goal. However, this shooting effect is very cartoonish and there is no blood or gore. When you or your opponent are shot, the game essentially just reboots you depending on the game mode. 

As you try and shoot your opponent in Fortnite, you hope that you are taking away any potential “shield” they might have as well. Once shields and health bars are depleted by any opponent’s efforts, this is when your game can restart. Unlike games like Call of Duty where the violence resembles that of real-life combat, Fortnite is not at all reminiscent of real-world combat. 

According to the ESRB, the governing body of video games, Fortnite is rated T for Teen. This means that only players over the age of 13 should be playing. However, the reality is that many parents and gamers are starting much younger. 

Multiplayer

One of the most common ways of playing Fortnite beyond battle royale is in Duos or Teams. In this mode, you play with either one other player or on a squad of four. When you are in these matches, it’s very possible a child (and adult) could be paired with someone older. In these cases, there is some risk of cyberbullying and harassment from other players. If you steal a kill from one of your teammates or get killed too early, there is always a chance a teammate, even one you know in real life, could have a negative reaction. 

The same goes for being exposed to more adult language. According to similar online reports tracking the average number of players, the average age of a Fortnite player is between 18 and 35. This age group uses far different language than someone 13 and younger. While parents can hope for the best, there is a better-than-good chance a child will be exposed to improper language. 

Game Modes

This is one area where a parent can provide some management of their child’s Fortnite experience. If parents want to be protective of their kids and avoid some of the potential harassment opportunities, this is easily done. One of Fortnite’s best options is to only “fill” your team up with other players from your friends list. The hope is that this list has been curated by the player (or a parent) and only includes those names a child can safely game with.  

Is There Violence In Fortnite? 

However cartoonish the game modes are in Fortnite, there is no denying it has violent tendencies. This is still a game with guns and killing, but it lacks the blood and gore of other titles. In many of Fortnite’s most popular game modes, you’ll find that you need to be the last person standing. This means you have to take out other opponents quickly before they get you. 

There is a Party Royale section of Fortnite, which is considered a core game mode. This game mode is essentially a bunch of mini-games to play with friends. You still have access to some weapons, but you also use tools like a grappler, fishing rod, or jetpack. If you are a parent who wants your child to experience Fortnite in a non-violent way, this is one option. 

However, just know that your child will be tempted to jump into the non-Party Modes and it’s really easy to do so. At the end of the day, regardless of which mode your child prefers, there is some violence during gameplay. Whether or not you can accept the cartoonish nature of it and allow your child to play is going to be subjective for each parent. 

Image showing how to download Fortnite from the Epic Games app via the Galaxy store
Downloading Fortnite is really easy for kids, so parents have to decide fast what they are okay with.

Does Fortnite Offer Parental Controls? 

The good news is that Fortnite does offer several parental control options. Setting up these controls is super easy and you can password-protect them to avoid changes. Some of the most basic updates available include setting up a password to approve/deny when your child sends or receives a friend request. 

Parents can also set up parental controls to determine if their child has access to voice chat. Parents have the choice of blocking all voice chat, or just enabling for friends, teammates, or everyone. The same goes for non-voice chat as you can also do some limited text chatting within Fortnite. 

Along with Epic’s parental controls, the individual platforms you play Fortnite on also enable parental protection. 

  • When playing on Windows 10/11 for PC, parents can input restrictions on “purchasing, playtime, access to content, broadcasting, and more.”
  • On the PlayStation 4 or 5 console, Sony allows parents to “include spending limits, social features, access to games, content, and the internet.” 
  • For Xbox Series X/S owners, Microsoft allows parents to put “restrictions on purchasing, broadcasting gameplay, and access to social features including communication, and multiplayer modes.” 
  • Finally, parents of Nintendo Switch owners can “include restrictions on purchasing, play time management, content viewing and sharing, and communication.” 

How Much Does Fortnite Cost? 

Free-to-Play

When it comes to pricing, Fortnite is something of a mixed bag. The game itself is free to play though you can buy special console editions that offer different giveaways. For the most part, parents should anticipate not spending anything to download and start playing Fortnite. This is true across PC as well as game consoles including the Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo Switch. Downloading the game can be done through all of the console game stores, or the Epic Games store on computers. 

In-Game Currency

However, things get a little more complicated when it comes to in-app purchases. Children will always be tempted to purchase new outfits or skins using V-bucks, Fortnite’s in-game currency. Prices start at $8.99 for 1,000 V-bucks to $89.99 for 13,500 V-bucks. 

Using V-bucks can be a great way to update your character and Fortnite offers a lot of different character packs. For example, Star Wars outfits and character emotes have been in the Fortnite store many times. With these packs, players have had the chance to play as Darth Vader, Kylo Ren, Luke Skywalker, Rey, and Chewbacca. 

Ultimately, parents should anticipate that V-bucks are a natural part of the Fortnite experience. You can play the game without spending a dime, but expecting to do that is pretty unrealistic. 

The Bottom Line: Should Parents Let Children Play Fortnite? 

At the end of the day, parents can let the ESRB rating stand and not let children play Fortnite until they are 13. On the flip side, parents should use their best judgment on what is the most appropriate age for playing this game. There is no question Fortnite does have some level of violence as part of its core game. 

While it’s cartoonish, there is a good chance this is going to turn off many parents. Ideally, parents should play the game first and then make a call on what is right for their child.

Pros

Violent gameplay notwithstanding, there are some added benefits to playing Fortnite. The increased socialization, playing as a team, and critical thinking skills are all definite bonus reasons to play. When you add in the free-to-play price tag, there are some pros to Fortnite

Cons

As far as cons to playing Fortnite go, you have to be mindful of the violent gameplay, the open chat features, in-app purchases, and the idea Fortnite can be addicting. It’s easy to sink hours into Fortnite every day and for a kid, that can be a dangerous proposition. 

Final Answer

If your child is over 13, there is a pretty good argument to be made that they should understand the cartoonish violence and be okay with playing Fortnite. In this case, playing Fortnite should be considered reasonably safe. For children under 13 and as young as 8 years old would be something parents should only consider under supervision. Anything below 8 years old is probably too young to truly understand the violence on screen as well as not going crazy with in-app purchases.

Frequently Asked Questions

How much does Fortnite cost to play?

Fortnite is currently free-to-play across all consoles and PCs with in-app purchases or V-bucks available separately. 

Is there a social draw to playing Fortnite?

There is absolutely a social draw to playing Fortnite as it’s a great way to play with friends when not in school. 

What is the ESRB rating for playing Fortnite?

According to the ESRB, the recommended age for Fortnite is 13 based on its T for Teen rating. 

Are there parental controls available for Fortnite?

Yes, both Epic Games and the different game consoles offer plenty of parental protections for Fortnite. 

What is the youngest age a parent should consider for Fortnite?

If you go against the ESRB recommendation, 10 years old is likely the cutoff, though some parents believe 8 is okay. 

To top