Fortnite pain has been felt in a celebrity’s household after it was revealed that the celebrity in question disciplined her children by smashing their iPads. Apparently, this came about because the rules regarding screen-time (particularly with Fornite and PUBG) were not being observed, and the parent decided to disable the infernal devices by whacking them against a table. Youch.

In fairness to the famous mother, she was very open and honest about her decision-making when she admitted her crimes on a popular UK talk show. Interestingly, the subject of the debate was ‘Parents to blame for kids’ behaviour?’ so I think the Irony Police might be paying her a visit once the Apple Police have had a word.

Now, I have to be very careful here as I am not a parent (contrary to what the DNA tests may tell you) and it’s very easy for me to look on as a judgemental outsider and point the finger at what I believe to be “bad parenting.” I can only imagine what lengths some despairing mums and dads must be driven to when the raising of kids becomes more like the herding of cats, and it’s not something I have any first-hand experience of. I have never had to tear the kiddywinks away from a video game, or impose rules, or even resort to iPad sacrifice. So my opinion on this matter is down to whether I think playing Fortnite or PUBG is harmful to children.

This is a gaming website, so you can probably guess which side I’m going to come down on 😛

First, it would depend on the age of the children. If these are six and seven year olds, then I proooooobably would think twice about unleashing them into the war-torn world of PUBG. (But then, I started watching Blake’s 7 when I was three, and in the first episode the protagonist is framed for child molestation, so perhaps it depends on the child’s mettle…) With Fortnite – okay it’s still a fight to the death, but it’s so colourful and cartoony that it’s a very Disney-like massacre. And let’s not forget, those childhood faves Bambi, The Lion King and Fantasia aren’t exactly the fuzziest of films… In fact the latter’s ‘Night on Bald Mountain’ section is all about hellfire, brimstone, topless women and Satanic entities, so surely that’s enough to justify an iPad slaughter on a mass scale?

Second, I think the real parental issue is whether the child is engaging in any activity to an unhealthy excess. If the kid is so pre-occupied with gaming / television / reading to the point where they’re not engaging with the world around them, then yes that’s surely a cause for concern. But I don’t think it’s necessarily fair to point to a game / television programme / book and decry it The Root of All Evil.

Video games, smartphones and tablets are an easy target in this regard, because they’re new and trendy and not readily understood by all. Some people would much rather their child tore themselves away from that devilish screen and wiled away the hours in Tolstoy’s War and Peace. Although I’m not sure what would happen if they read War and Peace on a smartphone or iPad… I suspect it would create a paradoxical outrage that would rip a hole in the fabric of the space-time continuum.

Let’s also remember that when television was first invented, it was dubbed “the idiot’s lantern” and it was seriously thought, by some, to impair cognitive ability. Similarly, when novels were first introduced to Europe in the seventeenth century, they were perceived as being the lowest forms of literature and young people were strongly discouraged from reading them.

And then we have Shakespeare. In his day, he created popular entertainment for the masses and was considered trashy and populist by those critics who clung dearly to their well-thumbed copies of The Bacchae. Goodness knows how the bard Homer was perceived by his Turkish contemporaries, but presumably they preferred to reside in caves and stare at wall paintings.

 

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Fortnite is currently played by approximately 125 million people around the world.

So when we return to the Fortnite pain of this week, I’m not sure the issue is entirely about whether the mum was right to smash a couple of iPads as a punishment, but whether she was acting out an innate human aversion to ‘anything new.’ I would lay money that this particular parent is not a console gamer; I very much doubt she snuffed out a couple of iPads and then settled down for an evening of heavy grinding in Far Cry Primal. Does she perhaps prefer reading, or the kinds of ‘art’ that she grew up with? Would she have burnt her children’s books if she felt they were reading for too long…? So. Many. Questions.

And of course, she could just have turned off the internet or passworded the tablets to stop them from playing 😉

What’s been your reaction to the kids’ Fortnite pain? Was the iPad smashing justified? Are games such as PUBG really bad for children? Leave your thoughts in the comments below.

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