When I was younger, Battle Royal had a whole different meaning than it does today.  It was always associated with WWF/WWE multi-competitor wrestling matches where one wrestler is eliminated until only one is standing.  Today, throw an “e” at the end for Royal and it is in reference to a genre of books, games, movies that involve a fight among many combatants…where the goal is to be the last one standing.  

Battle Royale video games are becoming extremely popular amongst the gaming community…especially kids.  As the father of 3 boys, two extremely popular ones are Apex and Fortnite. I wanted to take the time in this post to provide some answers to questions parents may have regarding these two popular “battle to be the last person standing” games.  

What is the game all about?

  • Fortnite Battle Royale:  This is a survival game where 100 players skydive to an island, fighting to be the last one standing.  As players move around the island they are harvesting building materials to create strategic structures and finding weapons to assist them in their survival.
  • Apex Legends:  This is similar to Fortnite.  This multiplayer battle royale drops a player onto a map where they are teamed up with two other players to form 20 squads.  The goal is to be the last team standing.

How violent is it?

  • Fortnite Battle Royale:   The cartoonish, bloodless style of action makes the violence in the game less problematic than other aggressive shooting games.  
  • Apex Legends:  The gore and violence is not on par with other games like Call of Duty.   Unlike Fortnite’s cartoony bloodless style, Apex does have blood and has plenty of militaristic violence.

Can my kid play and chat with strangers online?

  • Fortnite Battle Royale:   The game does have either voice chat or on-screen text chat options exposing players to random strangers and the possibility of inappropriate language
  • Apex Legends:  In this game each player is on a team of 3, so it is most likely they are playing with people they do not know.  If they coordinate with friends who have the same gaming platform, there is a possibility they are playing with two other friends.  Chat features can expose players to random strangers and inappropriate language

Is the game appropriate for my child?

  • Fortnite Battle Royale: Depending on where you look, you will see ratings of either 12 or 13 and up.  Although the game does have a cartoony feel to it, remember it still involves carrying weapons while trying to hunt down other players in the game.  Also the chat feature can expose players to inappropriate language from other players.  With all that being said, with the proper controls (turning off or muting the voice chat feature) and parental guidance, Fortnite can be a tween-friendly alternative to violent first person shooters.
  • Apex Legends:  This game is a bit grittier than Fortnite and depending on where you look, you will find ratings from 14 or 16 and up. Remember, it does have blood and plenty of militaristic violence.  Also the chat feature can expose players to inappropriate language from other players. Similar to Fortnite, it is possible to play the game safely with the right chat settings and parental guidance. The safest way being to play on a squad with two other friends you know or to mute the chat feature.  

One major question asked from parents  is should I let my child play or when should I let them play.  Unfortunately, there is not a clear cut nor right or wrong answer to these questions.   Each family/child has different circumstances and philosophy. Some things to consider regarding these games or other online activity:

  • Understand how game violence or excessive online activity might impact kids
  • Be involved in their online/gaming lives
    • Keep an eye on how your children are affected by video games/online activity
    • Have open conversations regularly about what they are doing online and how to stay safe
    • Explore your child’s online activity together
  • Set guidelines and rules as a family regarding online activity, games, and apps.
  • Manage the technology and use setting available to keep your child safe

Hopefully answers to these questions and minor suggestions can help guide you along your child’s online journey in this fast paced technological world they are growing up in.