If your child is into video games, they’ll most likely want to play Fortnite at some point. To help you understand Fortnite and make sure your family plays safely, here is everything you need to know about the video game. We’ll run through what policies and rules are in place already to help keep players safe, and an overview of the various tools and settings Epic Games (the company that builds Fortnite) offers to help you and your family make informed choices about your child’s gaming experience.
Before we dive in here are two important links:
All Fortnite parental controls can be set via the Epic Account Portal (or from within the game itself)
For more information on everything in this article can also be found at the Epic Games Safety and Security Center
So let’s start from the beginning, what is Fortnite?
There are multiple games that can be played within Fortnite, some made by Epic, and many made by other Fortnite players. The most well known game is Battle Royale, the multi-player game in which up to 100 people battle it out to be the last one standing. Players who are over the age of 18 can also create and publish their own games within Fortnite, which can be anything from race courses, to mini interactive museums or scavenger hunts. Fortnite is free to download, available on lots of devices including gaming consoles and computers, and is easy to play (even for beginners). The range of fun Outfits (your kid probably calls these ‘skins’) and other accessories for in game characters are super popular with players. Outfits can be bought, earned or granted.
Is Fortnite appropriate for children?
Yes! Fortnite’s overall PEGI rating is ‘PEGI !’ - which means that it offers a diverse range of content. This is the same rating as something like Netflix or YouTube.
Fortnite also includes age and content ratings on all individual games in the ecosystem. The IARC (International Age Rating Coalition) rating system gives families a way to make informed decisions about which games are appropriate for their kids, depending on their age.
Parents can block games (often called ‘islands’) above a certain rating, or unlock specific islands that exceed the set ratings threshold. There is also an option to turn on/off the ability for children to create their own games in Fortnite.
For Fortnite Battle Royale specifically, the Video Standards council rates it as PEGI 12, for ‘frequent scenes of mild violence’. It is cartoonish violence, with no blood; “eliminations” happen via an animation that removes the player from the game rather than “kills”.
Is Fortnite appropriate for younger children?
If a player indicates they are under 13 or their country’s age of digital consent (whichever is higher) they will have what is called a ‘Cabined Account’. While waiting for parental consent, they will still be able to play Fortnite, but will be asked to provide a parent or guardian’s email address in order to get permission to access certain features, like voice chat or purchasing items with money.
How to have an open conversation with your child about Fortnite
While there’s plenty of fun to be had in Fortnite, it’s important to speak to your child about the game’s safety features and why you are using Epic’s parental controls, and which safety settings and features they can use or change themselves, based on their age.
Make sure they know they can talk to you if anything has upset them while playing, and how reporting features work. Teach your child how they can report inappropriate conduct, mute other players, and block players that they no longer want to interact with in Fortnite.
You should also make sure they understand that they should treat people online in the same way they’d treat them in person. Epic Games has clear Community Rules that apply to all users of Epic’s games including Fortnite and online bullying is never acceptable. Your child can also submit audio evidence when they report other players for engaging in inappropriate behaviour in voice chat – this helps Epic take action against players violating their Community Rules.
Can I manage who my child talks to in Fortnite?
Yes, you can manage chat settings via Epic’s parental controls. Part of the fun of the game is being able to talk to friends and other players while you play and move from different games together as a social group, just like you would in the real world. As a parent you have the following options for both voice and text chat:
Everybody: allows your child to chat with any player
Friends and Teammates: allows your child to chat with players in their Epic friends list and platform friends list, as well as other players on their team who they may not be friends with
Friends Only: allows your child to chat only with players in their Epic friends list and platform friends list
Off: Epic chat is disabled
If your child is under 10 years old, the maximum voice chat permission will be “Friends Only” and text chat will be off. When your child turns 10, you will be able to choose additional voice and text chat options. If your child is under 13, the maximum voice and text chat permission will be “Friends & Teammates." When your child turns 13, you will be able to choose additional voice and text chat options.
You can also set up a Parental Controls PIN to be entered for your child to send or receive Epic friend requests.
It’s important to check out the settings on the console your child is playing on, such as PlayStation, Xbox, or Nintendo Switch. If you turn off voice chat in Fortnite, for example, your child may still be able to access voice chat using the chat system built into your console.
What other parental controls are there for Fortnite?
When your child wants to start playing Fortnite, further family settings available include:
Weekly playtime reports - Sign up to receive weekly reports to track the amount of time your child plays Fortnite each week.
Prevent unauthorised payments - This setting required a Parental Controls PIN to be entered to authorise real money purchases using Epic Games payment.
Filter mature language - This setting filters mature language in text chat, replacing it with heart symbols.
For more information on everything in this article, please visit safety.epicgames.com.
About the author
Gemma Wilcock is a freelance writer and copywriter. At Mumsnet, she creates content providing useful parenting advice, information and top products to make life easier – as a mother of two children herself, Gemma knows how important it is to get the right advice.
She loves writing about subjects that will be helpful to the reader – and herself! - including recommending top products and helpful advice on Mumsnet that assist parents in their day-to-day life. With two children who are already into gaming, Gemma has had to figure out safety settings on games she’s never played before to ensure they’re suitable for her children to play. So articles like this are just as useful to her as they are to you!