It has come to our attention that lots of the children are playing on the game Fortnite. Despite the game having an age limit of 12 on, children throughout the school including those in reception have had conversations with me about the dances on there. The NSPCC have issued concerns about children being contacted via the app.
The children’s charity, NSPCC, has issued a report stating that the popular new online game Fortnite is leaving children exposed to the danger of communicating with strangers. The NSPCC has issued a ‘stranger danger’ warning. Research by the charity has suggested that 25% of children playing have been contacted by strangers. The game uses actual voice and chat room systems. The NSPCC has advised parents to turn off these systems to avoid children being contacted inappropriately by strangers playing the game. The game also uses a text messaging system but unfortunately this is not able to be turned off in the game’s settings. The game also has an online store where players can buy skins and other items to personalise their online avatar. The charity is also urging parents to closely monitor the amount of money children may be spending in the store.
Fortnite has about 45 million registered players with up to 3 million playing at the same time. It is thought to have surpassed Minecraft in its popularity.
It is vital that parents communicate with their children about what games they are playing online and how they can stay safe. Advice from the NSPCC is:
• parents should reassure children that they can talk to them if anything is upsetting them online.
• parents should familiarise themselves with what their children do online and why they like particular apps or games.
• families should agree family rules on how to use apps, sites and games.
• privacy settings and parental controls should be used to keep children safe.
Free O2 NSPCC helpline – Call 0808 800 5002 to speak with a fully trained person about online safety. For face-to-face support you can visit an O2 store (even if you are not an O2 customer for a free Guru appointment with a tech expert, for example to learn how to set up controls to keep your child safe.