Experts identify Fortnite frenzy as addiction

A craze is captivating the online gaming community.

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It has students neglecting schoolwork and adults neglecting their jobs.

Experts are now identifying it as an addiction.

Fortnite is a game, but it’s also a movement that has brought many lives to a standstill.

Carson Vitany, 17, of Birch Run, has joined the 125 million gamers around the world in the video game.

The game is fictional, but the Fortnite frenzy is a real-world threat. It is captivating contestants into a continual clash against each other for survival when they should be socializing, sleeping, studying for school or other real-life responsibilities.

“They’re able to keep it interesting for us to stay longer and not get bored of it,” Carson said.

Carson deprives himself of sleep at night and is dozing off in class during the day at Birch Run High School.

His mother, Debbie Vitany, is fed up with the Fortnite frenzy that has some parents searching for solutions on Facebook.

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“People spend money playing it. I just recently found that out,” Debbie said. “Basically you pay. From what I understand, you’re paying to dress a cartoon character.”

Carson and his brother are dinging the family finances playing what’s referred to as a “free” game. They were buying various outfits and weapons for their online avatars at $20 a pop.

The game creators make about $1 million a day.

The Vitany sons spent unapproved cash, causing their wake-up call.

“There was a discussion,” Debbie said.

“I don’t know. It shows how developers can, I guess in a way, take over your mind from a game,” Carson said.

Experts advise parents to almost get legal by creating a screen-time contract with their kids.

“The biggest thing is setting boundaries and so we know it’s going to be very difficult when you go from playing six hours a day to school and homework and extra curriculars,” said Dr. Caitlin McLear, psychologist. “Homework has to be done. Chores have to be done.”

When the talk turns to addiction, Fortnite is frequently mentioned.

“You don’t win all the time in Fortnite and so you want to keep playing and keep playing cause you want that sensation of being rewarded. You want that win,” McLear said.

“I personally love the game myself. I play. My wife plays. A lot of friends play,” said Austin Bell, gamer.

Anthony Davila is a parent who doesn’t mind moderation. He understands the excitement of his 15-year-old son and others, but he agrees parents have to put up boundaries.

“If it keeps him out of trouble. He has a good time with his friends and then at the same time go out to the lake and do stuff like that too,” Davila said.

Debbie is down with that attitude too. Her command is to stop until chores and school work is done. She checks during the night to assure everyone is asleep.

“They can play it, but they can’t spend any more money on it,” Debbie said. “The games, you know, been shut down as far as buying more weapons or clothing for the avatar for sure.”

Fortnite has taken prisoners as young as 6-years-old. It also poses a new threat to your personal information.

Some people are earning game bucks by answering online surveys, many of which are phishing scams giving criminals new clues to open virtual doors for stealing your identity.

The 2019 Fortnite World Cup will have players competing for $100 million in prize money.