Oh Great, A Current Affair Has Discovered Fortnite

Oh Great, A Current Affair Has Discovered Fortnite

Fortnite might not have been the first battle royale game to get large, but it’s quickly becoming one of those games that becomes part of the mainstream conversation around games. Unfortunately, that sometimes means exposure of the wrong kind. Enter stage right: A Current Affair.

“The latest video game craze is violent, addictive and free, and the kids love it,” ACA advertised, promoting their story into Fortnite with this image:

A program into Fortnite aired this week, although unsurprisingly it focused less on the game and more the minors playing. “Some of my friends can’t actually get games like these,” one kid said on the program, adding “their parents just think it’s not very good”.

Described as a Hunger Games-style game with a “deadly, serious premise”, ACA’s program warns that children as young as 9 are playing Epic’s battle royale epic.

After a quick cameo from former Kotaku managing editor Seamus Byrne talking about “stranger danger” issues and classification, a child and adolescent psychiatrist specialising in gaming warned – with no prior context – that “they can actually show higher rates of aggression themselves”.

“There are many risks involved in playing violent video games,” Dr Philip Tam says. He’s quoted on the 9News website as advocating a “sensible, calm collaborative approach” to limiting children’s screen time though, an common approach echoed by other medical professionals.

It’s the kind of story we’ve seen in the media for a couple of decades: new video game gets hugely popular, A Current Affair comes out about the “potential dangers” facing children. The show aired similar concerns at the height of the Pokemon GO craze with lines like “family warning” and “Pokemon Panic”.

Obviously: don’t play games to excess. Doing anything to excess puts your well-being at risk in all manner of factors, and gaming isn’t excluded from that. But announcing giant warnings about “higher rates of aggression” without referencing anything doesn’t help. Just ask the American Psychological Association: last year they published a statement asking that media and politicians stop linking mass shooting to video games due to a lack of evidence.

Correlational and longitudinal studies of youth suggest that violent video game exposure does not meaningfully predict youth physical aggression or violent crime (DeCamp, 2015; Przybylski & Mishkin, 2016; Surette & Maze, 2015; Ybarra et al., 2008). Some research has suggested that youth with more aggressive personalities may seek out violent games; however, violent games do not increase assaultive behavior among such youth (Breuer et al., 2015).

Further, little clear evidence has emerged that youth identified as “at risk” due to elevated mental health symptoms are influenced to become more aggressive due to exposure to violent video games (Ferguson & Olson, 2014; Engelhardt et al., 2015.)

Further, evidence from societal data examining video game violence use has yet to document that such use is predictive of violent crime (Ferguson, 2015b; Cunningham et al., 2016; Markey, Markey & French, 2015). Similar absence of predictive relationships has been observed for violent movies (Dahl & DellaVigna, 2009; Markey, French & Markey, 2015.)


  • Dont buy a pick axe and proceed to gather materials from your surroundings. My 6 year old neice plays Fornite BR, only because she likes building stuff and hiding. Its like one big game of hide and seek for her. She doesnt care about getting killed because she can just play again.

      • I tried to win games from afking while painting or watching TV on my second monitor. Can happily report I won a game from sitting under a tree, moving forward to the next tree every few minutes and never picking up any weapons (last person must have died from the storm).

    • Fortnite is massive with school age children right now. Not so much it is the most violent game out there, more that it is a major social thing for kids

      • Which i assume is because it is completely free?

        Makes sense that this is taking over PUBG solely because kids don’t need mum’s card to buy it.

        • Yep. And it is on mobile phones. And it is made by epic who make quality non-buggy games (pubg is a wreck bugwise) it’s also a lot faster than pubg.

  • Whats new. ACA / trashy grimbaws has been doing this for as long as i can remmember. this might as well be word for word of their world of warcraft bit from like 2007 lol.

  • I don’t believe it encourages violence. However like all things in excess I’m curious as to how an excess indulgence over a protracted period of time can affect mood. Again, I in no way believe the violence aspect and mood is a totally seperate aspect. I see my students lately with fortnite (before that PubG, before that R6) and how their moods are differing with a.) The kids whose parents let them play it unrestricted letting them miss food and sleep compared to b.) Responsible parents who still let them play, as they should, but impose responsible timeframes ensuring adequate sleep is gained and nutrition attained.

    • Just want to second this as a really good point.

      The most damaging I’ve ever seen games get would be MMOs where people get hooked and out in ridiculous hours and the time affects their ability to do other things.

      If you get that hooked being made to stop can also leave you moody and aggressive since you just want to go back to doing what you want, I’d guess in these cases minecraft would continue being the more dangerous game to overindulge in.

        • As a reformed (Honest!!) WoW addict I see this as a big risk.

          At my peak I was working 8 hours a day in WoW after working 8 hours a day in my day job, usually at the expense of sleep, which took it’s toll.

          While the hook on Fortnite likely isn’t as strong without the Pavlovian rewards systems of MMO’s, teenagers need far more sleep than I did at 30, so the impact would be greater.

          And they’re moody enough as it is.

    • a current affair should get sued by Epic Games for false accusations and false advertising. they added things like screaming noises over someone breaking a floor with a pickaxe and a clip from GTA?? how stupid does a current affair think parents are??

      • Oh mate, seriously, I’ve already had conversations with my students parents about Fortnite. I’ve had to TELL them the game is fine as long as its played in moderated amounts but not to be played at school. Some of these parents insist it has Mortal Kombat levels of gore in it, which I’ve informed them it hasn’t. They’ve got this whole ‘Mandella’d’ idea in there head because of that article now, where they swear they saw gore and murder and mayhem in it. *SIGH*

      • You seem to not understand the fact the fact is that children below the games recommended age limit for extremely long periods of time and is becoming a serious addiction I can also tell by your comment that you have very little understanding of both the legal system and of Australia’s Freedom of speech laws and I think that a Current Affair has got very good points on the nature of the hours spent on game and the Sydney Morning Herald has an article explaining that teenagers are throwing tantrums like 2-year-olds when their parents are making them get off the game everyone needs to see that this game is creating Addiction problems as serious as drug and alcohol addictions.

  • These sorts of reports, to me seem help advertise the game more than anything else. In 1997 when the first GTA came out, there’s was a news report on TV about this ultra violent game that encouraged kids to steal cars. I’d never heard of GTA before but after seeing that news report, went out and bought it the next day. BTW, never stolen a car.

      • Never stolen a movie but with the FBI warning right after the previous FBI warning, It’s like they’re pushing me to steal by in convenience, Like they’re subconsciously making me want to steal a car, A handbag & a movie.

    • Man I stole hundreds of cars in my youth HUNDREDS.

      We stole them. Tore around town with them, ran over so many people! But then tragedy struck when we hit the big elephant…

      And then the lego building.

      And then we tried to jump the rubber chicane ramp…

      Hotwheels were kickass man.

  • Studies have shown their is an increase in aggressive behavior immediately after playing games. But that it isn’t a permanent change and is the same spike seen in almost all competitive activities.
    So their no context quotes aren’t immediately incorrect, just lacking context. His advice of “advocating a “sensible, calm collaborative approach” to limiting children’s screen time though, an common approach echoed by other medical professionals.” is good.

    • It’s called adrenaline.

      It’s perfectly natural and helps us run away from sabre toothed tigers.

      You also see it when kids play, watch action cartoons and movies, and get told off by their parents and teachers.

      • It’s more likely dopamine, which has receptors in the adrenal glands. Different responses can be inspired in people, such as the gambling response, the action response etc but there’s one factor common to them: There’s an ‘addictive response’ that game devs know how to milk out of people, just as softdrink devs know there’s a ‘sweet spot’ for the amount of sugar to put in softdrinks (seriously, look it up, no joke).

    • I think the issue is less that a calm collaborative approach is a bad thing and more that ACA is acting like there’s something special about Fortnite that makes it dangerous rather than the underlying problem of limiting all screen time. The way they’ve focused on “violent video games” and the “Hunger Games like” gameplay, evoking extremely violent movies (at least in the minds of their target viewers) strips that advice of its context and makes it seem like there’s some new super dangerous threat to childrens’ wellbeing that you need to know about by watching ACA’s coverage.

  • As a father of a 6-year old, I can say I’ve seen just as much violence in the cartoons that he watches.
    When he plays with mates and pretend fights, they are mimicking Ninjago, not my PUBG character, or Aloy in HZD, or Darth Vader in SWBF2, or my soldier in BF1…

    • Maybe having a reporter chase a school kid down the street, force themselves inside their house and shove a microphone in their face is too much even for A Current Affair. Maybe.

    • None of these kids are members of a Union! And none of them have even tried to get council permission for their staircases to no-where.

  • Obviously: don’t play games to excess. Doing anything to excess puts your well-being at risk in all manner of factors, and gaming isn’t excluded from that. Don’t do anything to excess, period. Excess, by definition, means you have too much of it, so an excess of anything can never be good for you.

  • I think you will find is that this has hit the news because it is detracting the learning experience when at school. Not the fact it is violent but the media will throw it out there to get them likes and views. It was the same when i was in school and everyone had their gameboys and pokemon. The told everyone to leave their gameboys at home.This is nowadays too many parents are probably going to blame the game as they cant ban mobile phones from school. What if some parents kid needs it “in case of emergency” or something. I think theyre gunna have a hard time of removing this game from schools due to it being on mobile. I bet if they didnt allow mobiles at school kids could get back to being educated.

    • Mostly old people (and the uneducated) Which are their target audience. Same as talk back radio.
      Their days are numbered so I find some solace in that.

      • Uneducated people watch TV. Interesting to find TV spikes with Lawyers and doctors however you find those people uneducated that’s interesting because I find that people who play fortnite in excess are uneducated which is what the Current affair and other news outlets are trying to say is that people are no longer paying atttention to schoolwork and focusing on fortnite.

  • Has anyone here actually seen a parent react badly as a result of one of these segments? I’m genuinely curious to hear from anyone whose parents actually went “no more games for my kids” after seeing garbage like this and whether it made you want to play these games more or less.

    • Often it’s not a quick turn, a parent watching ACA would likely already be greatly limiting screentime, may be aggressively using parental controls and their kids probably already couldn’t play these games.

      What a story like this does is justify their prior made decisions and give them just enough information that they can argue with other parents for allowing their kids to play it.

      • Limiting screen time is nothing new, and is not a bad idea.

        Back in the day – far longer ago than I like to admit (*cough* 70s *cough) – my sister and I were limited to 1 hour of TV each night, and only if we’d finished our homework. That generally meant choosing two of Dr Who, Hogan’s Heroes, Banana Splits and the Goodies.

        It’s a good policy. It kept us outside and active, and meant we concentrated on school.

        I know more than one family that have started heavily reducing screen time across all platforms for the entire family, and the results are pretty dramatic. The kids are far more active, open and social.

        • I didn’t mean to suggest limits on screen time are inherently negative which is why I mentioned greatly.

          Personally I don’t like the term since it carries the connotation that all screen time is equal and is negative. Personally I wouldn’t like spending time working on homework on a laptop to be considered the same as watching a movie or playing a game for example.

          Similarly watching a movie as a family can be fun, but if you making that choice removes their screen time because it’s a fixed number of hours that just builds resentment.

          Making kids do different things and not binge definitely can have some very positive effects. Adding an element of choice with your example and allowing freedom is a great idea too.

    • It is more positive reinforcement for the people who already hold the opinion.
      And more proof for the retired boomers who understand the the youth of today are lawless hooligans and should be given a belting, just like the good old days

  • Man, am I so glad they haven’t discovered Farm Simulator…they’d have PETA all over me for never feeding my chooks and speeding down highway 242 in my tractor…

    ACA, obviously silently partnering with PUBG…

  • I think we may have erred by expecting ACA to present information objectively rather than producing fear-inducing propaganda. Their bottom line is viewer numbers, and they routinely misrepresent (non) issues to get them.

    Perhaps we should actively deny them our attention. Then maybe media like ACA will just go away…

    • nah anyone with a brain knows they are bottom feeding scum masquerading as journalists. Even the reporters on the show know this.
      Which makes them soulless cash whores or perhaps sociopaths.
      If I believed in karma I would feel better about it. But as it stands, half the population are of below average intelligence

  • They should ban current affair shows. They have been shown to have a dangerous impact on the blood pressure of elderly conservatives.

  • Last weekend a bloke came at me with a pickaxe. I blame fortnite. Not the unhealthy mix of alcohol and mental illness.

  • “Exclusive investigation into which brand of milk is harming your children!”
    “Special insight into which supermarket is ripping you off!”
    “Is juice harming your family?”

  • I’d like to thank ACA for warning this adult that Fornite has such a young player base.

    Aggressive children make me aggressive.

  • Too bad they dont enforce Age Restrictions anymore. This game is rated M, as in for a Mature audience. Mature as in over 15 years of age. The fact that people are letting children play is the real issue in my opinion. If it was made mandatory that people had to show some form of identification or proof of age before purchasing or downloading a game, then it would have made this entire mess a whole lot simpler. Shame on the people who brazenly ignore the age restriction and then argue that its the games fault for messing up their child’s psychological mindset and outlook. Consider your own actions before you begin to question others.

  • I’ve read the comments though, would like to add ; violent games do heap violent behaviour and it’s plain to see anyone observe this from the call of duty series and halo games.
    Many folks would not feel the pain like real soldiers would and in real life – thr soldier doesn’t re spawn like computer games so in reality especially children should not be playing violent video games as it may lead to violent criminal behaviour when older which will likely lead to attention from law enforcement agencies and possibly even prosecution; however, it keeps kids brains busy and off the streets making trouble for themselves and others.
    I would also like to add that kids should be playing car racing games , strategy and / or , adventure type games instead

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!