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They say that our scars are our stories. If this is true, then Jude, my 12-year-old son, now has this story to tell: “I was playing Fortnite, and I tried this new exploit I saw in a YouTube video, and it worked! I was so excited, I jumped off my bed and busted my lip on the corner of a shelf and had to go to the emergency room and get stitches.” That’s right, we had a video game injury in my house today.

Something about my son getting hurt playing video games made me stop and think. It wasn’t just what he was doing when he got hurt, but I was bothered by what he wasn’t doing. He didn’t get hurt jumping his bike off a homemade ramp, or falling out of a treehouse he was building, or even the ridiculous rock fights that characterized my youth. He got hurt in his bedroom all by himself, playing Fortnite…

Boyhood has changed.

It’s the confluence of two things I’ve observed increasingly in the past few years. First, there seems to be real societal pressure to tame boys – to keep them from playing rough, to rein in their impulse to explore, their need to test themselves against the heights of a tall tree, or even to rise to the challenge of a mouthy friend. We don’t let them wrestle or climb or ride off on their bikes. We neuter any hint of wildness. We tell them to get down, to settle down, sit down and sit still.

Secondly, because of technology like video games, tablets, and smartphones, our kids are perfectly fine with sitting down and sitting still inside where it is safe and secure. Boys fire up a game console, put on their headset, turn on their flatscreen and tune out the whole wild world. They don’t even know what they’re missing.

Now the only world that boys explore is digital. Imagination is no longer required – just good Wi-Fi. The challenges of boyhood today mainly involve leveling up. Boys engage their rivals in hand to controller combat. And because the risks aren’t real, neither are the rewards. There may be fewer trips to the emergency room but there are less adventures and far fewer stories to tell.

Scars represent life lived. My son will have a Fortnite scar going forward. I suppose there are worse ways to get a scar, but there are also so many better ways.

I can always tell when my kids are in a Fortnite Battle Royale match by the cheering or jeering I hear blaring from their rooms. I might be hearing the thrill of victory or the agony of defeat, but it is loud and enthusiastic. If you have a child who plays video games, they are probably playing Fortnite, too, (or soon will be) as the Fortnite craze shows no signs of slowing down.

When it comes to video games I typically have two concerns. Is this particular game and its content something I want my child playing, and then more generally, how much time (and money) should my child spend playing video games? It’s worth noting that good, caring, involved parents can come to different conclusions – and that’s okay.

As far as content goes, Fortnite, put out by Epic Games, is rated for 11 year olds and up. The most popular game mode is Battle Royale, which involves up to 100 online players fighting to the death to be the last player standing on an island with various structures and topography. Eliminating the other 99 players involves weapons and violence, but I would describe it as cartoon violence as opposed to bloody, realistic violence.

One thing I really like about Fortnite is that it requires creativity to be successful, not just a trigger finger. Quickly building and manipulating the environment to gain an advantage is an essential part of gameplay. Fortnite is a combination of Minecraft and shooter games with several clever twists thrown in that are genuinely fun.

(If you are concerned about the content of any video game, head to YouTube and watch a few gameplay videos that players have uploaded.)

This brings us back to the general question of how much time we want our kids spending with video games – especially since games like Fortnite can quickly become obsessions.

Parents approach this in a variety of ways. During the school year, some parents allow a set amount of time each week and/or only allow gaming on weekends. Hopefully your family has some tech-free times set aside for reading and playing outside, not to mention structured time set aside for homework and chores. Gaming time might vary during holiday and summer breaks.

Make whatever the latest video game craze is work for you! Parents can leverage video games in many creative ways. For example, I get a ton of extra work done around my house so the kids can earn money for in-game purchases. My child’s behavior and attitude may earn them more or less playing time. And here’s one of my personal favorites as a former English teacher: “I’ll match your reading time with Fortnite time minute for minute!

Perhaps the absolute best leveraging of your child’s Fortnite obsession is to use it to spend time together, either joining in or watching them play. Game on!