Prince Harry, an incredibly wealthy man who once piloted an Apache helicopter, says the game Fortnite “shouldn’t be allowed”.
As reported by the BBC, the Duke of Sussex spoke about the game at an event at a YMCA in west London, telling attendees that the popular title is made to be addictive.
“Where is the benefit of having it in your household? It’s created to addict, an addiction to keep you in front of a computer for as long as possible. It’s so irresponsible. It’s like waiting for the damage to be done and kids turning up on your doorsteps and families being broken down,” he said.
He also reckons social media is “more addictive than alcohol and drugs”.
It’s not clear whether old mate is just referring to Fortnite because it’s the biggest and easiest target, or whether he has these feelings towards gaming in general, but it’s nothing we haven’t heard before. While there’s no denying that Fortnite is essentially pokies for kids, I think the more important point to raise is how to set boundaries for children and video games, rather than banning them for being simply being good.
It’s also worth noting that the average age of a gamer in Australia is around 34 years old according to the latest IGEA report, and in the UK, it’s even older, sitting at 43 according to research conducted last year by Nesta. What I’m getting at is that gamers generally skew older than people like Prince Harry realise.
We’re at an interesting crossroads with gaming and mental health at the moment. Gaming has never been more popular, both locally and from a global standpoint, so issues like addiction tend to be exacerbated simply because the number of gamers have increased exponentially, and those who don’t understand tend to latch onto the negatives and disregard the positives, of which there are many.
If Harry – who once dressed like a Nazi for fun – wants to ban his kids from playing Fortnite, fine. That’s setting parental boundaries and he’s entitled to do that. But for the love of dog, can we please stop calling for the wholesale ban of games? It’s getting old now.