Fortnite is insanely popular. The game has been downloaded more than 40 million times in less than a year. Yet the downloads alone don’t capture the addictive nature of the game. The story of one 9-year-old girl, though, speaks volumes. She’s now in a rehab program following an episode of addiction that has left many scratching their heads.
The girl was so addicted to the game that she would play all night. During intense games, she wouldn’t get up to go to the bathroom, but would wet herself so she could keep playing. And when her father finally tried to take away the Xbox, she lashed out and hit him.
“The girl, who is now in intensive therapy to combat her addiction, would play for up to 10 hours a day,” The Daily Mail writes. “Worn out from all-night sessions, she dozed off at school.”
“We had no idea, when we let her play the game, of the addictive nature or the impact it could have on her mental health,” the girl’s mother told reporters.
“My husband saw her light on in the night and found her sitting on a urine-soaked cushion playing the game.”
“She was so hooked to the game she wouldn’t even go to the toilet.”
“This is a serious issue which is destroying our little girl’s life and someone needs to step in to ban it before it becomes an epidemic.”
Someone needs to step in…. The role of “someone” is typically reserved for a parent, or two. Perhaps this mother missed that chapter in the instruction manual.
It was just two months after she had begun playing the game that the girl’s teacher asked the parents about a change in behavior. The girl’s grades began slipping and she was falling asleep in class. She lacked the energy for P.E. and didn’t want to do ballet.
Another red flag was the increasing total on a credit card. Payments to Microsoft to cover in-game purchases on Fortnite.
“Of course we were furious and confiscated her Xbox,” her mother said. “But then she lashed out and hit my husband in the face.”
The money, urine, poor performance in school, and violence were just too much for these parents to ignore. They sought the aid of a professional.
“I know bright kids who will fail their exams this summer because of Fortnite,” her new therapist said, “kids who are stealing from their parents and friends to pay for the extras, kids who urinate in bottles because they can’t bear to leave the game.”
Now the parents are paying the therapist. Perhaps he or she will be able to help.