'Fortnite' Addiction Has Some Parents Sending Their Kids to Video Game Rehab

'Fortnite' addiction has some kids so hooked that their parents have sent them to gaming rehab.


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Parents chalking up their kids' distracted and compulsive behavior to playing video games is a story as old as Atari, or arcades, or whatever you consider to be your stand-in symbol for gaming in its infancy. But apparently the pull of Fortnite is so strong that some parents have gone the very desperate route of sending their kids to rehab in order to get them to put their controllers/keyboards down once in a freaking while, and not for the first time either.

One such parent who was recently profiled by Gadgets 360 was Michigan mother Debbie Vitany, who says her 17-year-old son (Carson) logs 12-hours a day in Epic Games' virtual battlefields. She says that this unhealthy time allotment has caused him to get bad grades and fall asleep in class (as most 12-hour per day obsessions will do). "We'd made some progress in getting him to cut down his Fortnite hours and get better sleep, but he's slipped back into his old habits," Vitany said. "I've never seen a game that has such control over kids' minds."

Lorrine Marer, who is a "British behavioral specialist who works with kids battling game addiction" even went so far as to compare the game to heroin, which is actually not the first time health experts have made this connection, though you probably wouldn't know for sure unless you both played Fortnite and did heroin.

While such comparisons might seem alarmist, Gadgets 360 reports that the game has been cited in more than 200 petitions as the reason for broken marriages in a survey compiled by an online UK divorce service. In fact, the crazy addiction that people can develop to Fortnite can lead to a number of interesting narratives (from a distance, anyway) such as the one about the gamer who continued to play even as a tornado rolled through his neighborhood.

Additionally, a Rhode Island-based child psychologist named Randy Kulman states that he's seen an increase in parents seeking counseling for their kids' gaming addictions. "I had a 13-year-old in my office who said he had 300 Fortnite wins," said Kulman. "I had to stop for a minute and calculate what he had to invest just to get those."

Gadgets 360 also spoke to a man named Michael Jacobus, who runs a summer camp for kids with addictions. Jacobus said more than half the kids at his camp were playing Fortnite excessively, and that his treatment method includes taking kids' tech devices away, in tandem with healthy eating, and group therapy. Gadgets also spoke to a 15-year-old who dropped out of high school due to his own gaming addiction (and now gives speeches on that very subject).

While a round-up of personal anecdotes isn't definitive, the World Health Organization designated "gaming disorder" as an actual disease this past June. You can read the whole thing over at Gadgets 360and decide whether or not you have a dependency akin to that in the article, or whether it's just garbage getting in the way of you reaching level 100. It only works if you're honest with yourself, though.

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