by Oliver Colaw
Almost all of the teenagers in Ouray know about the popular third-person shooter game Fortnite. It has affected all of their lives whether they like it or not. My question is how much does it really change their personalities and are the changes beneficial or harmful for them? Fortnite has multiple features, including a creative mode that allows the players to build their own worlds and structures, a voice chat, text chat, and thousands of different game modes, with the main being Battle Royal. This was the original multiplayer game mode and remains the most popular among players.
Freshman Keaton Nelson said that “Fortnite has extremely helped my social skills,” because he can play “1v1” maps, in which he can talk to kids his age and participate in friendly trash talk. He thinks his online activity translated over into the real world and helps him socially today in contexts like FBLA (Future Business Leaders of America).
Freshman Cavan Pasek agrees and said that not only did Fortnite help his social skills, it also helped his typing and creativity. Cavan mentioned that he “learned how to type on a lot of different games,” including chat on Fortnite. He says that his creativity was boosted as well. “The creative mode in Fortnite is the light of my day,” he claimed. In this mode, players build worlds and visit each other’s created worlds. Recently, he said, Fortnite released an updated version of the creative mode which allowed even more customization, including animation of characters and graphic editing.
Both Cavan and Keaton enjoy jokes they learn on Fortnite or make about it. However, Nancy Colaw said that both of her children, avid players, have not been influenced. As one of them, I disagree. I know that I have learned various jokes online and often make jokes about the game with my friends. However, I do agree that my younger brother has not been influenced as much.
My mom agrees that Fortnite can be beneficial socially because “they play with their friends from school.” But she thinks overall it is a bad game. She says that her children “spend way more time in their rooms on the PlayStation than they spend downstairs hanging out with family.” She feels that it would be more beneficial for kids to be having conversations in person so they can read facial expressions and make eye contact.
Studies from multiple different agencies including the World Health Organization and the American Physiological Association all agree that video gaming can be addictive. Studies even show that people excessively playing video games suffer from poorer mental health, impulse control, emotional problems, and ADHD symptoms.
Still, many teenagers think that Fortnite is beneficial for them. Teens need to take a look at their own behavior and tendencies so they can understand how video games are affecting them and balance the negatives like mental health with the positives like creativity. Certainly my friends and I don’t want to give up gaming: “Fortnite just inspires me so much for so many things,” said Cavan.