7 Ideas on How to Curb Your Teens Addiction to Fortnite
Fortnite is taking over the planet. It’s like hunger games meets everything your teen has ever loved about first person shooter games. It’s not bloody and crude like many of these types of games can be and the landscape within the game is always changing with new characters, weapons, strategies and more. Teens will even sit around and watch others play the game for hours on end without even playing it themselves.
If a video game can draw you in without even having to play it, someone is making serious bank.
My wife and I have had to get creative this summer to find ways we can keep our kids involved in activities without breaking our own bank and have landed on a plan you might find helpful as well. As I see it, the issue isn’t so much the addiction to the screen as it is the amount of free time they have on their hands. So our challenge was to find a way to limit their free time without having to be present every second of the day to monitor them. Here is what we came up with.
Chores Come First
It’s the most basic of life rules but one that is often broken - work before play. We have a small whiteboard near our kitchen where we post the chores for the day. Free time does not exist until all chores are completed and inspected. (Your teen can text you a pic of the completed jobs if you are not around to check them.)
You should never run out of some combo of these types of chores:
Laundry (TEACH THEM!!)
Taking care of pets
Taking out trash
Changing bed sheets
Organizing a room in the house
Washing the car
Provide Free Time for Fortnite in Smaller Doses
Most teens today have block schedules in school. Their life is lived in small chunks of time so transferring that concept to their free time is an easy thing to do. If your teen earns free time from well completed chores or other projects, offer them free screen time in 30 minute or 60 minute chunks. Try not to give more than 90 minutes at one time. Often what you will find is that when they go on break from a round of free screen time, they move onto another activity and sometimes forget to go back.
Well, that’s the best case scenario anyway.
Make Screen Time Match Development Time
As a another general rule, try your best to make consuming match producing. I’ll explain.
Since the dawn of humanity, children were producers in society. They farmed, hunted, labored, cooked, cleaned and were major contributors to the family unit. Now that they are stuck in school until they are 18 and can’t hold a job until 16, they have become societies largest consumers. In an attempt to rewire things back to the way they were meant to be, consider how your teen can produce something with their time rather than consume.
Producing can take many different forms but focuses on their ability to develop new skills. If they desire an additional hour in screen time, have them produce something for an hour with their free time first.
Here are some examples, most of which they can find ways to learn or practice for free if they Google it:
Learn an instrument
Practice a foreign language
Practice a new sports skill
Read for 30 minutes (We recommend our book Throat Punch Normal)
Set up an Ebay store and find things to flip
Draw or Blog something they are interested in
Learn to Vlog and set up a YouTube Channel
Learn to Podcast with apps like Anchor.fm
Write a letter to encourage someone
Research something they are passionate about or interested in and report back on it
Incentivize with Creative Jobs
Fortnite does a great job monetizing their product by selling different suits (skins), weapons and more. My wife and I have never been fans of allowances so we have encouraged our kids to get creative in the way they can earn money. In fact, we wrote an entire blog on it here: https://www.catalystcollective.community/new-blog/2017/5/15/25-summer-job-ideas-for-teens
You can even offer a 'company match' and tell them for every $1 they bring in, you will give them another $.50. This is one of the most innovative generations ever, they just need a little push at times.
Require a Weekly Fortnite Vlog
Since they are already dedicating hours to learning the ins and outs of Fortnite, require them to share this knowledge with others. A great way to do that is to have them Google how to create a YouTube Channel and start a gaming vlog. Never accept “I don’t know how” as an answer. Maybe teens could get away with that lame excuse in the 90s but this is 2018. Just about everything you want to learn how to do is already being taught online for free.
Set up a Backyard Nerf Battlefield
We did this in one of our High School After Hours programs and it was a massive success. Invest in some Nerf guns if they don’t already have them, go grab some cardboard boxes and have your teen set up their own battlefield arena. For every minute they spend creating and playing nerf outside, you can offer them a minute of screen time.
Invest in a Wi-Fi Blocker
If all else fails and you need to turn your crib into Alcatraz, go invest in a WiFi Blocker (https://wifi-blocker.com/). You can cut the internet remotely with a click of a button and turn it back on with another click. Your kid will hate you for this one but hey, that’s life.
Hope you find some these suggestions helpful Feel free to comment or hit us up if you would like more info. We would love to hear some of your ideas as well!