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

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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.