Teens And Teachers Say Fortnite Mobile Is Destroying Some Schools

Teens And Teachers Say Fortnite Mobile Is Destroying Some Schools

For months now, teachers everywhere have heard students talk about Fortnite, the world’s newest obsession, nonstop. While the popularity of the game is nothing new, its release on iOS has apparently only made things more intense. Fortnite is a huge distraction you can now take anywhere, after all.

Many schools have rules against mobile phones, but judging from posts on social media, nothing can stop students from booting up the ruthless shooter. Everyone is playing it, teens say, so schools have tried to ban it. It’s a huge enough problem that some schools are reportedly having Wi-Fi issues as teens try their best to survive the battle royale through shared networks. People are fighting over the game, or they’re ignoring schoolwork. In some schools, it’s all Fortnite all the time now:

Students aren’t the only ones taking to Twitter about this phenomenon:

“There has been a rise in the number of incidents with students walking into classes while playing the games,” Nick Gutierrez, a high school AP computer science teacher, told Kotaku. “They started a match during lunch, or before school, and need to finish the 10-15 [minute] long matches. I have noticed in my room students siting next to each other trying to play while pretending to do work.”

For many of us, playing games during school time is old hat: I remember sneaking a Game Boy under my desk in primary school. Plenty of people have memories of playing games on their calculators, too. What makes Fortnite different is that it is a meaty and intense game that everyone is playing, because it’s free. Plus, if you’re bad at Fortnite, you can still just watch others play and have a blast. It’s a great spectator sport. The temptation to play or watch it and chum around with your peers is bigger than most games that have come before it.

According to Nick Fisher, the teacher with the Fortnite mobile confiscation bin Tweet, part of what makes Fornite so viral for kids is that its culture is tied to social media. Players feel compelled to talk about Fortnite with other people, to make their prowess public.

“When you mix in the fact that you have to Snapchat every ‘dub’ (win) you get or Snapchat your friends losing it merges two of the biggest distractions in school… I would say Snapchat is a bigger issue than games. But Fortnite marries the two of them into a monster.”

Phones are enough of a necessity that students can use them during designated times, such as lunch breaks, but there’s still some marvel over how much Fortnite is taking over student’s lives. “[My] school allows phones during the lunch breaks and instead of socialising all they do is play Fortnite,” said high school teacher Priscilla Cullen.

Fortnite isn’t the only shooter occupying student’s minds right now, as PUBG also released on mobile earlier this month. But judging from conversations with teachers, many students seem to prefer one over the other.

Gutierrez says that in his class, students have a question at the start of the first bell ring that they need to discuss in order to prep for the AP test. One day, instead of delving into the material, students in Gutierrez’ class debated the particulars of a game instead.

“Students spent the entire time talking about PUBG‘s auto aim, and not the question like normal,” Gutierrez said. “I jokingly asked ‘Which is going to matter more in a few months for the AP exam? This, or PUBG?’ to which, predictably, a student in the back yells ‘FORTNITE‘S BETTER.'”


  • Adapt, schools. Start getting in with the changes everything else but you acclimates to.
    Education hasn’t changed format since the 1700’s.

    • I’m not quite sure what you’re getting at here, are you saying schools should be letting kids play Fortnite all the time instead of trying to teach them?

      • I took it to mean they need to adapt to the problem, not accept it.

        Not sure how you or @ruddaga took it as allowing kids to play.
        The 1700’s comment I’m going to assume was a stretch though and prob an exaggeration of the educations systems habit of always being behind the meta.

        • Most schools are adapting to the problem though, as mentioned in the article many have already blocked it from the provided wi-fi.

          Not sure what that has to do with Education as a whole not adapting though, not like the Education board can really do much to stop kids enjoying games more than work, that’s just a fact of life.

    • Yeah as a teacher who is also a gamer, I’m curious as to what the original commentator meant. Is there some actual idea behind this statement? Or is it just a generic comment from someone who is repeating something he read on the internet and has no idea on how to have schools adapt to the increase of ways for students to procrastinate and be distracted from learning basic literacy and numeracy?

      Genuinely curious. I’ll tell my students from now on to come in and play Fortnite because superdeadlyninjabees said we should allow it so we get with the times. /end sarcasm

      • Don’t be that dude. Education is in need of reform. The reason your students want to play Fortnite is because it is literally a more enticing option.
        Schools aren’t at the speed of most children and nor do they account for different learning styles. Hence you have an uninterested audience.
        Yet everyone still acts like they’re confused as to why kids don’t want to get involved.

        • Wait…. you’re telling someone who works in the education sector and who presumably deals with this kind of stuff all the time not to be “that dude”, meanwhile your vague and poorly articulated comments should be read as gospel? That doesn’t seem very fair.

          School kids have to deal with distractions that did not exist 20 years ago. That’s a fact. The answer is not to adapt the curriculum to be as enticing as playing Fortnite. That would be a futile waste of time. Kids require boundaries and need to be taught that there is a time and a place for entertainment.

        • Did you never watch an educational video when you were at school?
          That was the education system trying to do exactly what you’re asking for. You also clearly have little contact with educators today as I can tell you games and the like are used, some schools use Minecraft, others use things like Lego Robotics to help teach basic programming in an interesting way.

          The fact is while all of this might sound nice in theory, teachers are not game designers, just as they were clearly not Hollywood filmmakers in the 80s/90s – their efforts to make learning fun/interesting will always pale in comparison to whatever the latest fad is.

          • Welp, then enjoy letting things be the same. Your income can stay low while the expectations remain high.
            People don’t want to hear “yeah, but…!” and the excuses. These aren’t “notions”, it’s empirical data taken from facts and evidence.
            I’m on your side here dude. I want your profession to change (which is admittedly painful initially) so that you can get more money, more support, and greater respect.

          • I’m not a teacher (not sure where you got that idea from unless you were reading the wrong comments as me), just happen to know some so I see what’s actually going on at (some) schools occasionally.

            Either way, I just gave you several ways Education has tried adapting over time (though as I said, nothing will ever make education more exciting than the latest craze) but you’re still saying nothing is good enough while not bothering to provide any real examples of what you think should be happening instead.

        • Schools aren’t at the speed of most children and nor do they account for different learning styles. Yes, yes they do even in a single school, and there are even many different types of schools that make diversity even more. Like performing arts schools, Steiner schools and the like.

          The reason your students want to play Fortnite is because it is literally a more enticing option. of course but the thing is as much as children are ‘older’ now they (in part) still have no idea what is good for them. Yes parts of games like Fornite can be used as discussion points, tied into certain subjects, but there is fundamentally no way a syllabus can be crafted around flash-in-the-pans like this. Children need to be forced into learning maths and english and all that boring stuff because it is fundamental in our society, whether they like it or not.

          In my day replace Fortnite with whatever the crazy was at the time. You know what I remember now, all that maths and english, not even remotely what the crazy was then.

        • Actually as someone who is constantly trying to make the subjects more interesting and involved in their current lives I find your lack of knowledge in this area not only offensive but just plain ignorant. Right now I have one of my English classes looking into Ready Player One as I know all the boys are interested in gaming. The ironic thing is most of the girls aren’t and now they’re the ones looking bored and disinterested asking if we could instead do The Book Thief.

          Go sit in on a lesson instead of watching a TED talk that spouts how schools need to evolve and catch up. They’ve got ipads, computers, laptops, interactive whiteboards. There are now courses that have them designing their own games or movies if they so wish.

          There is always some latest craze or fad that distracts the kids from their work. When I was at school it was more Counterstrike or Starcraft. The difference was I couldn’t just whip out my phone and play them on there. That’s the crux of the problem here. Not – A DUH SCHOOLS NEED TO EVOLVE BECOS I SAW AN EDGY VIDEO DAT SAID IT ONCE.

          • Well luckily for me, you being offended isn’t of any social value and carries no weight. So tough luck. Your job sucks and you get paid like a mug for it. You’re acting like you’re being resourceful by bringing in literature relevant to the kids’ interests and expecting miracles. Do you also say terms like “bro” and “cowabunga” to show them how cool you are?
            It’s a profession you won’t stay in anyway with that attitude.

            I’d go into detail as to why I feel so strongly about these things and the people I know in order to construe these opinions, but honestly, you think all that stuff you talked about up there was effort you put into your job to get results. It’s as if you watched a daytim TV movie and learned how to reach kids through that.

          • Well luckily for me your opinion counts for jack s**t. You’re not in the profession, have no actual idea what you’re talking about. And to top it off you just sound like a bit of a knob jockey anyways. This is the current problem with teaching in this country. Not the outdated system, but every person who went to school once (I’m assuming you at least made it to grade 8?) thinking they’re an expert on the matter because they were a student there. Maybe try leaving education matters to the people who are involved in it? Or go spend 10 years teaching and get back to us with an informed opinion.

            Oh and on a personal note – I enjoy my “mug” job btw. And while I’d always say yes to more pay, I don’t think our pay is that bad considering it’s well above the current average wage in Australia. But I guess that’s another misconception you’ve gotten from what ever daytime TV movies your’e watching.

            But why should I be surprised by any of the bs strawman statements you’ve making… . It’s been your entire stance the entire time. Cowabunga bro. You’re too edgy for this thread.

          • So you’ve just recycled my statements back at me, which is lame. Like all of them. And this demonstrates why your students would glaze over when you demand their attention. I REALLY wanted to divulge why I’m so into this topic and why I’m actually on your side. I was even going to step back and apologise. But nah. You sound terrible at your job, which is why you’re happy with the income.
            I finished in year 11 before going to Uni. At 15. My schooling was an interstate nightmare. So only a little bit better than year 8, but you were close. But I’m doing better than you. Even though I don’t think I should be.
            We can take this from the top and talk about it in a more conducive manner, or we can continue to shot on each other. I could go all day either way, but the reality is I care deeply about your profession and it’s growth. Maybe you could have started with asking why instead of being defensive.

          • Lol. And yet again.. waving the strawman argument as your only defence.

            But grats on getting to Year 11.

            You’ve said nothing of note this entire time my friend. I wish you the best in whatever it is you do other than ranting on internet forums.

          • Without getting into the argument, I just wanted to say thanks for being one of those teachers who actually appears to care about the teaching process. Not all teachers would make the effort. Some of my favourite teachers have been people who taught ‘outside the box’. It really helps to engage students with things they find interesting.

          • Appreciated Zambayoshi.

            I guess for me, the main thing is I can relate to them because I was them. But when I went to high school (wasn’t that long ago) there wasn’t nearly enough effort from teachers and schools to try and engage the students. Things have come a fairly long way but I agree that more needs to be done.

            I suggest using terms like “lit” and “fam”. These are the new “bro” and “cowabunga” ;P

    • Hasn’t changed since the 1700’s bahahaha I am sorry but that is hilarious. If you don’t know why read some history books not just what you think is true. Or better yet tak to your parents about how school in their day and then find a grandparent age person and talk to them as well.

      Hell teaching and schools aren’t the same as they were in the 80’s let alone 1700’s. For the most part their weren’t even formal schools as we know them now. They were a very different beast

      • Cool dude. I’m not gonna argue with you. There’s papers out there elaborating on my statement. You can go find them, but I generally find that people who use “bahaha” in debates don’t like new information.
        I’ll also put out there that I haven’t met a single teacher in my own generation that I’d like to teach my kids. Teachers aren’t going to get the money they ask for now with the quality of employee they are providing. I’ll also point out that I left school at year 10 and make significantly more than a headmaster’s wage. How is that not broken?
        Reform. It’s needed.

        • Was there computers in the 1700’s? Er no. They have changed our whole way of life since the 80’s and in education seriously since maybe like 2000’s (though my school was being taught them in the late 80’s). It crazy you think they havent had any impact on teaching in all those decades, not only in the way children are taught, the tools they have, but also on a social level with the distraction and presence of mobile phones and other handheld devices. Why would this fundamental shift in society not have a fundamental shift in teaching. you only need to talk to current teachers and ones who have been doing it for decades. they will talk your ear off. I know from great experience.

          So sure you might have some sources. I personally couldnt see any of value in a quick look. I could find page after page detailing how tewaching has changed in ten years, since the 80’s, since Victorian age. Page after page. Discussing even simple things like the psychology of teaching, even the mindset of how children learn is completely different, even since just my school. To say nothing of three centuries worth.

          Sure changes happen slowly, but that is because they earn so little and every year funding gets continually cut. Techinology and fads like Fortnite move so fast, no sooner could they learn to adjust and society is on to the new tech and fad.

          But list all the courses you want, they doesnt make them true. It just makes them an interesting read. I can find ANYTHING online to agree with anything at all I am trying to say. Its funny like that.

    • The behaviour of students hasn’t changed since the 1700’s either. These days it’s your PUBGs and Fortnites, back then it was probably trading cards and conkers.

      • The difference is that if you got caught out back then, the teacher would warm your backside for you. These days, they sit you down with a counsellor and ask you if everything’s OK at home?

        At some point, the school needs to clamp down on the distraction this has become. Whether it is excluding students who persistently play on their phones, or confiscating said phones, I don’t know.

  • Plenty of people have memories of playing games on their calculators, too.
    CowQuest and Boxman, good times.

      • Haha, the ones I was talking about was with the Graphics calculators in high school (so somewhere between 10 and 16 years ago for me I guess). The screens were similar to old Nokia phones like the 3310 (though wider) and the calculator itself was programmable – so you could create text-based or even simple pixel games and run them like apps.

  • they couldn’t do network analysis and block it? I suppose I don’t know what school IT are like but I can’t imagine it would that hard

  • We used to smash WarCraft 2 and Quake on our school computers. But nothing was mobile back then so it was more controllable.

    And when they deleted all of them, I still found a way to spend many lessons just playing solitaire.

    I really wish I’d actually studied. School was so much easier than life.

    • yeah during the final term of year 10 i installed Descent on the computers during History and we all just played deathmatch for the entire double period. teacher even joined in

    • I went to high school in the early 90s where the school’s were filed with Mac’s. So much Sim City!

  • I went to a small country school. When the school implemented a policy where every student got a laptop, counter strike and age of empires was discretely shared around.

    Eventually every student (boys and girls) were playing LAN counter strike at recess and lunch and it was glorious. It really brought the students together because younger years were playing with older years. Even some of the staff started playing

    • We used ti huddle around the one PC playing old Apogee games, D/Generation and some weird knock off version of Street Fighter 2.

      Good times those. Nothing wrong with kids gaming at school imo, just not during class time.

    • Small country school for me too, 300 students 1-12. The Abstudy common room had a few computers put in and (having a reputation for knowing about computers) I was asked for some help. Soon enough, we were playing Jedi Knight 2 and DN3D at lunch time, bringing together people of every race and gender. It was awesome.

      Unlike the main computer room it was out of sight. I was met with considerable aggression when trying to put games on those…

  • I would expect the school to do something about it on their end.

    Best I can do is tell my kid that If I find out he’s been playing it at school, he loses his phone.

    Note: My kids a month old, so I’m speaking from a hypothetical standpoint, lord knows what the little sod will have access to by the time he reaches school.

    • Yea mines 6 months old and I’m heavily cringing about what’s going to happen when he’s older. My wife and I watched a kid grow up over the last 5 years (They’re 8 now) glued to a tablet/tv/playstation and they’re pretty illiterate, however stupid amazing at games.

      • I’ve seen it too and it’s definetly alarming.

        Some parents see games and devices as a way to keep children occupied while they themselves are glued to their own iPads and phones, it’s no good and I’m already discussing with the missus how we will focus on interaction with devices as a treat and play games with him as opposed to using it as a digital babysitter.

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