The Lasso

Unpopular opinion: The battle bus can wait

A look into the disturbing effects games like Fortnite can have on the world’s youth.

Truman Lapp

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Lasso unpopular opinion

It was an average day. I was waiting at the bus stop, looking forward to talking with my friends about the upcoming school day. But when I saw them turn the corner, I knew that wasn’t going to happen today. Those glazed eyes, staring straight down at their phones, could only mean one thing:

Fortnite Season 6 had just been released.

Over the years, there have been a variety of trends and fads that have swept young America off its feet. But none have been so widespread or powerful as the game known as Fortnite. Ever since the release, teens all over the country, as well as the world, can be heard boasting about the amount of “dubs” they’ve taken or the number of skins they’ve paid 20 dollars for.

While most teens would heavily disagree, I believe Fortnite is a over-addicting shoot ‘em up game that altogether isn’t worth the potential risks it presents.

A computer on a desk in a classroom playing a Fortnite photo.

A Fortnite video being watched by a GM student. (Photo by Truman Lapp)

Some parents say that Fortnite is causing some alarming side effects. One mother in Manchester, United Kingdom, says that her son Leo has shown a pattern of personality changes since downloading the game.

“I had to tell him [that he was] not acting the way [he] normally acts,” said the concerned parent. “The game is so full of energy and adrenaline that when you pull [teens] off they are screaming at the television; they’re hiding, they’re calling each other, they are living in it with their friends.”

In 2017, a 9-year old girl from the UK was checked into rehab because of a Fortnite addiction. According to The Telegraph, “The girl is said to have wet herself during a 10-hour-long binge on Fortnite — and even hit her dad in the face when he tried to take away her Xbox console.”

This is an extreme example, but some experts say Fortnite is designed to be as addictive as possible.

Says an expert, “Video games such as Fortnite are designed to be addictive — they give children a hit of dopamine — also known as ‘the reward hormone.”

While this may be true, the long term effects of Fortnite can be quite surprising. University of California Professor Ofir Turel says that Fortnite can cause children to be more susceptible to addiction later in life.

As reported by The Telegraph, “[Professor Ofir’s] initial research suggests there is an association between heavy video game users aged 13 to 15 and an increased likelihood of misusing at least one of 15 substances.”

Based on the above evidence, I think Fortnite is a habit that students should drastically cut down on. It has been shown to cause personality changes, has sent children to rehab, and can lead to more serious addictions down the road.

Despite the appalling side effects Fortnite has shown the potential to cause, the game’s numbers keep going on strong, growing in popularity and scale with every passing week. While Fortnite may be a fun and relaxing form of recreation, students, as members of the target demographic, have a responsibility to make sure they aren’t affected by games like this in the long term. So please, before you log back on: Think about the amount of time you’ve already spent playing this game. The battle bus can wait.

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Unpopular opinion: The battle bus can wait”

  1. Jake Wilke on November 2nd, 2018 9:36 am

    nooo!! F0rtnut es der bast game avar! -default dances-

  2. Dean Kim on November 11th, 2018 8:53 pm

    Hi, I’m Dean. I was a part of our school’s 2018 graduating class, but have been following the Lasso (to some extent) into college. Keeping up to date with the going-on’s of my high school is always fun. Anyways, as an avid video-game player (although not Fortnite), I felt obliged to comment on several inaccuracies in this article. I felt some of the statements were gross misrepresentations of what what video games are, what they can (and cannot) do to the human body, and why portraying Fortnite in this sort of manner amounts to nothing more than sensationalization of what is ultimately not a very serious issue.

    First, I’d like to preface this by saying that I am by no means defending Fortnite — I don’t actually play the game, nor do I think anyone should. However, this doesn’t mean you should be able to slam the title without understanding the intricacies of video game design, marketing, and perhaps an understanding of human psychology.

    With that said, it is undeniable that Fortnite is a very popular game. Its growth has been unprecedented, with the only few comparable examples that come to mind immediately being Minecraft or maybe League of Legends. However, it isn’t as if the game is intrinsically more addicting than any other. There are plenty of horror stories out there of League of Legends players playing for days upon end, only for them to suffer heart attacks or seizures, but these aren’t the norm. They’re the exception. These examples don’t take into account factors such as susceptibility to habit-forming. All of the evidence provided by the New York Post article (by the way, this publication is not nearly as reputable as the New York Times) regarding the “addictive attributes of Fortnite” applies to basically all modern video games. From micro-transactions and customizables to the constant hunting found in Fortnite’s gameplay, all of these features can be found in essentially all popular video games. Perhaps the problem is with the system — the heavily commercialized video game industry — and Fortnite is being subject to unjust tokenization on this front.

    Moving on from there, I felt the dopamine argument was a can of worms that was better left untouched. The principles of dopamine release with things such as video games are a major point of contention right now, and can’t really be tossed around without ample scientific research. However, I don’t think Fortnite is an example of a game that takes big advantage of the brain’s neurological reward system. If you want to slam a game for something like making use of dopamine release by dangling some sort of bait/reward, I’d suggest doing some research on video game Lootboxes and the current political discussion in the EU revolving around their incredibly enticing (if not outright dangerous) nature. The topic is actually quite terrifying, maybe because I myself have personal experience with them.

    Moving on, the link between video games and violence is, in my personal opinion, a very weak argument to bring to the table. I’ve done my fair share of research on the topic (in fact, my IB TOK Presentation involved maybe 15 hours of in-depth analysis on the topic; feel free to ask Dr. Defazio if you want to hear about what my presentation was on), and have come to the conclusion that, in reality, the connection between violent video games (all types of violent media, for that matter) and violence in real life is hard to make. This is the same stance adopted by the United States Supreme Court, which has dabbled in several cases revolving around video game murders and the like. Much like with the addiction example, the few cases of video game-attributed violence we’ve seen are very situational, and involve individuals with a high predisposition towards such tendencies.

    With all that said, I don’t think Fortnite is a “habit that students should drastically cut down on.” As with all video games, Fortnite is fine in moderation, so long as you aren’t dropping large amounts of money on the game. It hasn’t been “shown” to do anything, really. Many of the cases you gave are largely circumstantial/situational, and don’t present all of the details. Especially the one about stay-at-home moms calling in to a talkshow. Please don’t pass off such examples as evidence. Anyways, I wouldn’t try to take the actual seriousness of the game’s addictive properties out of context. There are other games out there that, if anything, have done much worse. Fortnite isn’t sucking people dry of their money like CS:GO cases or Japanese Gacha games do (the latter of which has actually been proven to take advantage of dopamine releases in order to entice players to purchase in-game items). The game isn’t nearly as violent as many modern titles. In fact, the competitive aspect of Fortnite isn’t nearly as severe as other popular games such as League of Legends. Maybe, just maybe, its fine to come home from school, turn your computer on, and play some games for a few hours. It certainly didn’t impede my academic performance, and shouldn’t pose a problem to most students.

Navigate Left
  • Unpopular opinion: The battle bus can wait

    Opinion

    Unpopular Opinion: Candy corn is gross

  • Unpopular opinion: The battle bus can wait

    Opinion

    Let’s try being civil to people we disagree with

  • Unpopular opinion: The battle bus can wait

    Election

    Should Democrats up for re-election swing left or right? (politics chat)

  • Unpopular opinion: The battle bus can wait

    Opinion

    Columbus did more than just sail the ocean blue

  • Unpopular opinion: The battle bus can wait

    Opinion

    Maybe Wild Horse Wednesdays aren’t such a bad idea

  • Unpopular opinion: The battle bus can wait

    Opinion

    The Federal Bureaucracy: imperfect, but indispensible

  • Unpopular opinion: The battle bus can wait

    Opinion

    Dear Falls Church parents: chill out

  • Unpopular opinion: The battle bus can wait

    Opinion

    An ode to the green bubble: why Android isn’t as bad as iPhone users think

  • Unpopular opinion: The battle bus can wait

    Opinion

    Online classes…really?

  • Unpopular opinion: The battle bus can wait

    Opinion

    Our future is haunting our present

Navigate Right
George Mason High School Student Newspaper - The Lasso
Unpopular opinion: The battle bus can wait