How Do You Keep Your Kids Safe on Fortnite?
When a group of parents couldn’t control their children’s Fortnite addictions, they turned to the courts. A class-action lawsuit filed in Quebec claimed that kids were so addicted to the game that they wouldn’t eat, sleep, or shower. One 17-year-old suffered from panic attacks so severe that he was officially diagnosed with cyberaddiction [*].
The average Fortnite player spends six to 10 hours every week playing the game [*].
The mental strain of excessive gaming isn’t the only risk associated with letting your child play Fortnite. Parents must also consider threats from hackers, scammers, and cyberbullies.
Cybercriminals created over 878,000 phishing pages in 2022 — mimicking sites for Fortnite and other popular games, including Minecraft and Roblox [*]. Your child could fall victim to identity theft if fraudsters get a hold of your family’s personal information.
And so, parents have to ask the question: Is Fortnite safe for kids?
What Is Fortnite? How Do Kids Play It?
Fortnite is an online video game developed by Epic Games. It is available on many platforms, including Xbox One and PlayStation 4, as well as iOS and Android mobile devices. Fortnite is best known for its multiplayer gameplay, in which 100 players use weapons and strategies to compete against each other.
There are three game modes — Save the World, Creative, and Battle Royale. Many parents have concerns about the intense battles that occur in Fortnite, especially parents who aren’t familiar with the gameplay.
Here are 11 Fortnite terms that every parent should know:
- Battle Royale: This is the most popular mode, which starts with up to 100 players being dropped onto an island. In scenes resembling the movie The Hunger Games, players scavenge for items, resources, and weapons as they compete to be the last one standing.
- Creative mode: Users get a chance to express themselves creatively, with access to building materials and items that they can use to design custom game modes and unique experiences.
- Save the World mode: Players work together to fight against waves of artificial intelligence (AI)-controlled enemies. With teamwork, the objective is to survive challenges, defend objectives, and complete missions.
- Limited Time Mode (LTM): Some special game modes are available for short periods, allowing players access to experimental gameplay elements that are not available in the standard modes.
- V Bucks: Players can purchase Fortnite’s in-game currency with real money or earn it through gameplay. V Bucks are used for in-game purchases, such as items and upgrades.
- Skins: Players can purchase or earn cosmetic outfits for their in-game characters, giving them unique looks.
- Emotes: Players can use these expressive dance animations to celebrate victories or interact with other gamers.
- Battle Pass: Fortnite has a progression system that lets players earn cosmetic rewards, such as skins and emotes, by completing challenges in the game.
- Live Events: Fortnite’s in-game events, like explosions, cause real-time changes to the map, story, and gameplay environment.
- Seasons: Fortnite runs thematic gameplay periods that typically last about 10-12 weeks. Each season has a new theme, storyline, and Battle Pass. New events, locations, and challenges appear throughout the season — giving players chances to level up.
- Twitch: Many players broadcast their gameplay on the live streaming platform, Twitch. Viewers can watch and interact with the streamers in real-time as the hosts showcase their skills and share gaming tips.
Is Fortnite Safe for Kids? Here Are the Risks
Fortnite is mostly safe for kids — however, without proper supervision (or a parental controls app), it can expose your children to similar risks of other online games — including cyberbullying and addiction.
Here are seven threats that your kids could be exposed to when playing Fortnite:
Cyberbullying and harassment from other players
Like most online multiplayer games, Fortnite has in-game chat features. Unfortunately, the competitive nature of the Battle Royale leads some players to use the game’s voice chat and text chat features to harass or bully others.
While Fortnite's stylized graphics are somewhat cartoonish and not as realistic as other shooter games like Call of Duty, the game involves a lot of combat. Consistent exposure to this content may have a negative impact on the behavior and attitudes of younger kids and less mature individuals.
Exposure to adult content and language
Approximately 85% of Fortnite players are between the ages of 18 and 35 [*]. If your kids can access chat features while playing Fortnite, they will inevitably encounter adults using explicit language or talking about mature topics.
Anger issues and frustration
Kids playing Fortnite may get frustrated or angry if they suffer setbacks. Simple in-game failures or technical problems could trigger emotional reactions if your child is immersed in the game.
Obsession and excessive time spent playing
If children get addicted to video games, their sleep, schoolwork, and relationships can suffer. An Oxford study revealed that one hour of playing daily video games could enhance psychological well-being — however, over three hours could have a negative impact [*].
Scammers pressuring your kids into excessive online spending
If your credit card is connected to your children’s gaming profiles, they could make purchases on Fortnite. A panicked father found out his daughter had racked up a $400 bill buying V-bucks with his credit card [*].
Among the biggest online gaming risks are nefarious strangers who exploit the anonymity of avatars to conceal their true identities. Children may end up in conversations with sexual predators who try to lure them into private chats on Discord.
What Is the Appropriate Age for Kids To Play Fortnite?
The Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) has given Fortnite a T rating (for Teenagers) with a Content Descriptor for Violence and Interactive Elements.
While a large part of the gameplay involves combat and shooting, depictions of guns and violence in Fortnite don't include blood or gore. With its over-the-top animations and dance expressions, the game may seem a little silly to some — undermining the potential impact of the battle elements.
The ESRB evaluation also notifies users and parents about the ability of users to interact and make in-app purchases. Parents who link their bank accounts to their kids’ game accounts must take precautions to prevent excessive in-game spending. Also, connecting your credit cards could expose you to credit card scams or debit card fraud.
How To Keep Your Kids Safe on Fortnite: 10 Tips for Parents
- Set up parental controls on your child’s Fortnite account
- Choose the appropriate game “mode”
- Come up with a set of rules for how, when, and how long your kids can play
- Use Aura’s Safe Gaming tools
- Enable or disable in-game chat features
- Get familiar with the game by playing with your child
- Be on the lookout for signs of cyberbullying
- Protect your devices with antivirus and a VPN
- Block or limit in-game spending
- Teach your kids about online security
If you’re concerned about your children’s safety while they’re playing Fortnite, here are 10 ways that you can keep them safe:
1. Set up parental controls on your child’s Fortnite account
Children can play Fortnite on a range of gaming platforms — including Xbox, PlayStation, Nintendo Switch, and iOS and Android mobile devices. But regardless of the device, it’s easy to adjust the built-in parental controls to restrict access to certain features and content.
Here’s what you can do:
First, launch Fortnite. After logging in to your kid's gaming profile, head to the lobby and find the Menu icon on the top right side. Tap or click on it, and then select Parental Controls from the list.
Next, enter your email address. You can set a unique six-digit PIN code once you link your email address to the gaming account. Keep this PIN to access and adjust the parental controls.
Finally, decide what permissions to adjust. You can enable or disable the following settings:
- Social Permissions determine how your child can interact with others while playing Fortnite.
- Purchasing Permissions helps you protect against unauthorized payments in the game.
- Content & Access Permissions let you limit which games your child can use in the Epic Games Store, based on age ratings.
- Playtime Reporting lets you track your kids’ game usage; and you can receive weekly reports to see how much time they spend playing Fortnite.
💡 Related: Aura vs. Bark: Which Parental Controls App Is Best? →
2. Choose the appropriate game “mode” based on your child’s age
The multiplayer Battle Royale is the most popular mode on Fortnite, but it might not be suitable for younger kids. Parents must consider their children’s ages and maturity levels, and monitor how they use Fortnite.
How to pick the right Fortnite game mode for your children:
- Limit younger children to single-player modes. Children are more likely to be exposed to explicit language or cyberbullying in the multiplayer mode of Fortnite. Limiting younger kids to Creative or Save the World modes allows them to enjoy Fortnite without the risks of interacting with other gamers.
- Use Cabined Accounts for kids under the age of 13. In 2022, Epic Games released Cabined Accounts on Fortnite. Any player under 13 will have this safe, tailored account that restricts certain features — unless the child gets parental consent.
- Limit time on Fortnite Battle Royale. Too much time in this virtual battleground environment could impact your child's attitude toward real-world violence. Aim for a healthy balance — otherwise, excessive gameplay may disrupt your kid's sleep and school life.
💡 Related: How To Prevent Cyberbullying (2023 Parental Guide) →
3. Come up with a set of rules for how, when, and how long your kids can play
Without clear boundaries, your children’s gaming habits could lead to problems with their relationships, mental health, and physical health. To protect your child’s well-being, you must have clear guidelines for gaming.
Here’s how to set boundaries with Fortnite:
- Create a gaming contract. Sit down with your children to chat about how they use the game. Encourage them to help you set realistic rules along with appropriate penalties.
- Agree on the priorities. It's crucial to ensure that gaming doesn't negatively affect your child's academic performance, health, and relationships. In your gaming contract, set mandatory requirements that your child must maintain — for example, complete homework before gaming; attend family dinners; and continue weekly lessons for an off-screen hobby, such as sports or music.
- Use parental controls to set hard time limits. You can use parental control apps to restrict how much gaming time your kids have on their smartphones. With clear time limits, you can enforce the rules to which you agree in your contract.
4. Use Aura’s Safe Gaming tools to monitor for bullies and predators
For some children — especially teens — it may take some encouragement to embrace any form of monitoring around their gameplay. But with Aura’s Safe Gaming features, you can get peace of mind knowing your kids will be protected from the risks of online gaming platforms.
Here’s how to get the most out of Aura’s Safe Browsing tools:
- Use the website blocker. This feature automatically stops you (or your children) from entering unsecured websites that contain malware. With this feature enabled, you can reduce the risks of phishing sites stealing your kid’s personal information.
- Set up the ad blocker. Kids may click on ads while gaming or browsing the store. Aura blocks annoying pop-up ads and banners, so there are fewer distractions and opportunities to fall prey to scams.
- Enable cyberbullying alerts. You can get alerts to potential threats with 24/7 in-game voice and text monitoring for over 200 of the most popular PC games.
Pro tip: Keep all gaming activities in open spaces. It’s easier to control internet access at home and monitor how children interact with others on Fortnite by keeping consoles in the living room or kitchen.
5. Enable or disable in-game chat features
By adjusting the chat features, you can make sure your children only talk to friends they know in real life. Precautions around voice chat and text chat access can prevent your kid from ending up in conversations with scammers or predators.
Here’s what to do:
Launch Fortnite, and open Settings (the gear icon in the menu).
Then, click on the Speaker icon at the upper part of the screen.
From here, you can adjust the chat features with specific limits:
- Everybody allows chats with any player.
- Friends Only allows chats with the Epic friends list and platform friends list.
- Friends & Teammates allow chats with the Epic friends list, platform friends list, and team players.
- Nobody disables Epic Chat completely.
6. Get familiar with the game by playing with your child
One of the best ways to understand how Fortnite works is to play the game with your child. Not only will you see if Fortnite is safe for your kids — the shared gaming experience will make your child more open to talking with you about the game.
Here are some tips for playing Fortnite with your child:
- Observe your kid’s behavior. Let your children take the lead in the multiplayer Battle Royale mode, and take note of how they interact with the virtual world and other players. You'll see how they deal with situations and can identify potential stressors or issues.
- Look for teachable moments. Sharing gaming with your kids should be a fun experience, so try not to lecture them. But if you see other gamers bullying someone in the chat (or encounter a potential scammer), you can model appropriate responses to help your child understand what’s acceptable online.
- Gauge whether you need to adjust the settings. After playing together, you can determine if you need to apply stricter limits on content, chat, or gaming time.
7. Be on the lookout for signs of cyberbullying
Almost 37% of children have been victims of cyberbullying [*]. The challenge for parents is that many kids won’t talk about these issues — making it harder to help victims. The onus is on parents to keep close eyes on their children and look for red flags.
Here are some warning signs of cyberbullying:
- Your children get angry with their devices. A clear warning sign of cyberbullying is when a child has an outburst with a gaming console or smartphone. If your child throws their phone away, someone else is likely giving them a hard time.
- Your child gets jumpy when receiving a text, email, or message. Young victims of cyberbullying may be nervous anytime their phones beep. Some kids may turn off the computer or hide their devices when parents are nearby.
- Your child is losing interest in hobbies. If your children suddenly stop engaging in any of their favorite activities, it may be a direct result of some emotional stress they are feeling.
💡 Related: 10 Warning Signs of Cyberbullying (& What To Do) →
8. Protect your devices with antivirus and a virtual private network (VPN)
Whenever you're shopping, gaming, or using social media, it's essential to use security software to protect your family’s identity, finances, and personal information.
Here’s what to do:
- Turn on a virtual private network (VPN). A reliable VPN hides your geo-location and browsing activity from hackers. This security is crucial if your child can make in-app purchases with your credit card.
- Install reliable antivirus software. If your kid clicks on a link or ad that leads to a risky website, this could download a virus. Aura’s anti-malware protection detects and isolates malicious software, including spyware or trojans.
- Enable automatic updates. Software providers release periodic updates to patch any vulnerabilities. Make sure your kid’s devices are protected with the latest versions to stay ahead of the most current cyber threats.
9. Block or limit in-game spending (and don’t connect your credit card)
In December 2022, the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) hit Epic Games with massive penalties for violating children's privacy laws and tricking users into making unwanted purchases. The sanctions cost the developer over half a billion dollars [*].
Here’s how to control in-game spending:
- Set a monthly budget. Many kids — especially teens — succumb to peer pressure in order to keep up with their friends by buying sought-after items. Set limits, and encourage your children to think carefully about how to use their monthly budgets.
- Link gift cards instead of credit cards. The easiest way to safeguard your finances is to only allow spending via gift cards — with set limits. This method prevents overspending if your child gets impulsive.
- Use the PIN to allow transactions. If budgets and gift cards aren’t enough to stop your child from spending online, you can adjust the parental controls to require a PIN before any purchases can be made.
💡 Related: What Are Steam Card Scams (and How To Avoid Them) →
10. Teach your kids about online security
While you may think Fortnite is safe for kids, there are always risks with online multiplayer games. It only takes a few minutes for someone to trick your child into disclosing personal information. In the wrong hands, stolen details could quickly lead to an account takeover or identity theft.
Here’s what to do:
- Teach children about best practices in password management. Make sure your kids create strong, unique passwords that combine symbols, numbers, and uppercase and lowercase letters. Also, emphasize the risks associated with sharing login credentials.
- Help kids understand the need to safeguard personally identifiable information (PII). Any child with online social media and gaming profiles must keep their home address, school address, phone number, date of birth, and Social Security number (SSN) private.
- Encourage kids to learn more about online safety. As kids read about child identity theft, phishing, and gaming scams, they will understand the warning signs and how to stay safe.
💡 Related: Aura's Parental Guide to Safe Gaming →
The Bottom Line: Kids Love Fortnite – Parents Love Aura
Fortnite is a hugely popular game that is relatively safe for most kids. However, its addictive gameplay could become problematic if parents don’t take proactive approaches to monitoring their children’s gaming habits.
Also, the competitive nature of Fortnite increases the risks of cyberbullying — while its chat features could expose kids to scammers and online predators. To protect your kids online when they’re playing games, you need a reliable digital security solution with parental controls.
Aura’s Family Plan keeps your kids safe with these features:
- Award-winning identity theft protection, including 24/7 three-bureau credit monitoring with rapid fraud alerts up to 250x faster than competing providers3.
- A military-grade VPN and antivirus software to protect your family’s devices and data against hackers, predators, and malware.
- Parental controls to manage how your child uses online games through content filters, screen time limits, and chat monitoring.
- Dark Web monitoring to scan the internet and alert you if any of your family’s personal information is exposed on illicit sites, forums, and marketplaces.
- Up to $5,000,000 in insurance coverage for eligible losses due to identity theft — including stolen money, credit cards, and passports.
- White Glove Fraud Resolution Specialists that provide U.S.-based 24/7 support to help you recover from scams and navigate challenges with banks, creditors, and government agencies.