A story of a teen addicted to Fortnite was run by 60 Minutes in Australia, and it instantly blew up all over social media and other news media outlets. In the days since, the mother of the teen has been bombarded by people criticizing her perceived “failure” as a parent.
If you haven’t heard of this story yet, here’s a clip of the trailer for the 60 Minutes episode which gives a brief summary of what it’s about.
Locked inside a room, refusing to go to school and abusing their parents. When an obsession with video games becomes an irreversible brain change. 8.30 SUNDAY on #60Mins: An important health warning for all parents. What’s really happening inside these young minds? pic.twitter.com/NoPa1yESQr
— 60 Minutes Australia (@60Mins) August 29, 2018
In short, the original piece by 60 Minutes Australia told the story of Britta Hodge and her 14 year old son Logan, who dropped out of school to play Fortnite all day. He’s already been out of school for 2 years, and at this point, Logan essentially only stops playing the game for bathroom break and to eat meals.
In multiple instances, Logan actually attacked his mom for trying to stop him from playing Fortnite. From bites, headbutts, to even hitting her so hard she got a concussion, Britta has felt threatened enough to call the police on her own son.
Since the story has aired, Britta has been flamed non-stop on social media. Just take a look at the criticism she has been receiving on Twitter with the hashtag #60Mins:
I made my 11 yr old son watch that, and even he said those parents were whack jobs and needed to be better #60Mins
— Ana Covic (@anacovic80) September 2, 2018
Parents who game often have the better sense of setting limits and participating to build positive relationships with games. Non-gamer parents are the worst at paying zero attention to what their kids do on screens, then blame the game for problems. #60Mins
— Seamus Byrne (@seamus) September 2, 2018
I'd be too embarrassed to go on national television and declare that my child – who's voice hasn't even broken yet – has full control over me, my time and my funds. #60Mins
— Tash (@tashwil06) September 2, 2018
The personal messages she’s received personally are even more toxic. Her response to this? Two days ago she spoke with News.com.au saying that she stopped reading the messages that were being sent directly to her because they were “too distressing.”
Here are her exact words:
“We’ve had a lot of people tell us it’s bad parenting, but these are people who actually don’t understand and that’s fine, they’re entitled to their view.”
She feels that she is not alone in her story, and that many other parents deal with variations of it as well saying, “It’s a hidden addiction. People don’t talk about it because they’re embarrassed; people judge.”
As a gamer, specifically one that has a considerable amount of experience playing mobile gacha games, I know firsthand that they can be addicting. Despite this, it’s hard to argue against the idea that quality parenting plays a large role in determining the likelihood of a kid getting to the level of addiction Logan displayed in the news segment. I think it’s safe to say that generally, you only get to a situation that extreme if you’re completely oblivious to what your child is doing for years. If parents set up limits when they’re young and aren’t afraid to deal with the ensuing childish tantrums, you nip the problem in the bud.
Letting kids get to their teens without confronting the issue of gaming too much is a sure fire way to increase the difficulty of managing their addiction.
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