The effects of video games on children have always been an active talking point among older people, specifically parents. Sometimes these concerns can be overblown, but three parents from Canada believe that Fortnite has upended their children’s lives and has made them addicted to the game. The parents filed a lawsuit against Epic Games, stating Fortnite has created a “vicious cycle in which children must buy to feel accomplished and accepted by their peers, thereby taking advantage of their vulnerable position.”
The parents in the lawsuit argue that their children have stopped eating, showering, or socializing because they are too invested in the title. The parents also claim that the kids have been using vulgar language and no longer find enjoyment in activities outside of playing Fortnite. One specific moment shared on The Washington Post was how one 15-year-old suffered his first panic attack in 2019 for playing Fortnite. The boy would later suffer from another panic attack eight months later and was diagnosed with cyberaddiction due to his investment in the game.
Parents felt that Epic Games purposely made Fortnite as addictive as possible and knowingly endangered the players’ health, with no warning of the potential risk of falling into an addiction. The lawsuit was initially filed in October 2019 and was only authorized by the Quebec City judge the previous week. Epic Games spokeswoman Natalie Munoz claims the company will fight the lawsuit in court. Munez also argues that Fortnite allows parents to supervise their children’s playtime through parental controls.
While gamers are undoubtedly tired of reading about games being the scapegoat for a child’s misbehavior or mental state, gaming disorder is a real illness acknowledged by the World Health Organization. Addiction to games is often comparable to being addicted to drugs, with many people developing difficulty formulating thoughts and socializing, potentially ending up in rehab. The parents in the lawsuit argue that Epic Games should take responsibility for the potential harm Fortnite can cause to young minds, especially when children’s playtimes are left unchecked.