I consider myself an A minus parent. I’m not winning mom trophies for xx dinners and chaperone sign ups, but think I’ve scored a good balance of protecting and sheltering my kids without actually keeping them in a bubble, and so far, and they’re all seemingly well-adjusted, respectful little men.
But anyone birthing at least one offspring has experienced parenting fails along this wild adventure, and some are just more egregious than others. I’ve admittedly sent my kids to “wear your pj’s to school day” on the wrong day (I’ve read he school newsletters, ever since) missed a few crucial enrollment deadlines spurring desperate “one more student, for Robotics Club, please!!”, and my son might still be afraid of Walmart because I told them that’s where the crazy people shop. Still, they remain unscathed.
However, a recent decision amidst the typical distraction, business and ignorance to the agenda of another unscrupulous media company might just be the worst yet. Even in this moment, as I type the word ‘fortnight’ I can sense the collective sighs from other regretful parents also waiting since like, last Wednesday for their child to turn off fortnight and come to the dinner table…or get ready for school….or do anything, really. Anything at all that requires prying their hands from this torrid game.
Any parent out there managing to avoid knowledge of this gaming epidemic- a quick download: Fortnight is a xxx game designed to s. it’s an interactive game requiring a headset and each player depends on their “teammates” to get to the next level, therefore causing Tsunami-grade meltdowns when having to turn the game off before finishing the round. It’s not so violent, and they incorporate these cute little dances throughout the game that I’ve highly enjoyed watching my son emulate every day, but parents have complained about how the fiendish difficulty of staying alive to the bitter end, leaving their children feeling tired and withdrawn after playing it for hours on end.
This nightmare could easily have been avoided if I had simply paid more attention a few months ago, when my 9-year-old ever so casually asked to download a game called fort something on his Switch, and then a couple days later asked for a headset for his birthday. I should have joined the masses of good parents researching every digitized request made in the hurricane of school drop off, but we all have our excuses. I knew all my other good churchy friends’ kids were playing this fort game, and surely those homeschooling moms did their research. Send me the Cliff Notes, ladies…
But alas, within days I knew I had a problem. I first noticed it on vacation this summer, when Kenai was begging to stay on his Switch in the hotel room instead of body surfing in Palm Beach waves. And when he turned down the waffle bar buffet-s which aside from butt jokes, are his favorite thing on this planet- I started to panic.
What. Is happening.
So, in the highly-strategic way I approach most problems, I took to Google research and started asking around to others managing the consequence of fortnite addiction. An actual text between a mom and myself:
“Hey. Is Tyler on fortnight? What kind of crack are they peddling on this thing?!”
Mom friend: “YES, and it’s AWFUL. He had headset marks on his ears. ”
I’m still considering taking away the game altogether and substituting a huge guilt-laded bribe, but honestly, I’m just fearing the two-year-old in a candy story protest I know will ensue, and also the guilt knowing I should’ve prevented this cyber withdrawal in the first place. I’ve gone down a very dark rabbit hole of mommy guilt, questioning how I could let this happen to begin with. My first born was limited to a media diet of Disney movies and PBS Kids programming ‘til 10 and I barely let him get a Wii.
I blame it on the chaos and besiege of single parenthood, and the holy grail of the self-soothing lie that “these are just the times we live in! “ but really, I feel I have failed even worse than the time he swallowed a Reese’s wrapper after a rushed batch of peanut butter brownies. #WhattaSurvivor
So until I get out of the kiddie pool and muster the fortitude to ban this devil’s game from my house, I continue to manage the addiction by banning fortnite before school, giving constant ten-minute warnings to his cyber “team” before he has to exit, and checking his backpack for the Switch like a max security prison guard before leaving the house… “nope, fortnight stays home, bud, we’re not takin’ any crack on the road.”
I realize this rant synonymizes me to the lady complaining about her thighs, after daily visits to the cupcake truck, but I think this fortnite phenomena has really the parenting community by surprise, and sharing our mutual shock at the power of this game, we can at least feel empowered to either limit use, ban it, or save some other innocent about to approve a download that’ll leave her yelling “Did you hear me say turn that off?!” for all eternity.
And to the genius creators of this fortnite: Karma will find you…and I will dance to that.