Prince Harry is sharing his concerns about the popular online video game, Fortnite, which has come under fire by critics for being dangerously addictive.
During a visit to Sussex alongside Meghan Markle, Harry met with a group of 8-year-old students who asked him if he played the video game.
“He asked how old we are. We said that we were 8 and he said, ‘You guys shouldn’t really play Fortnite,’ ” one of the students said.
The students also said that Harry even exclaimed, “What is wrong with parents,” after they said they were allowed to play the online game.
At one point, Harry crouched down to talk to a few students and encouraged them to find other games to play.
“He was saying that it’s a concern of his, children playing the game before they are allowed to,” said teacher Emma Johnston. “We were saying that as a school it’s a concern for us too.”
Since its release date on July 25, the free-to-play “Battle Royale” survival game has spread like wildfire across the eGaming industry.
The game’s online player count has reached over 125 million in under one year alone, Epic Games — Fortnite‘s parent company — said in a June release.
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Fortnite is essentially a survivalist game. The premise? Zombies have eviscerated 98 percent of the world population, and the player’s job is to roam around the natural grounds, build a shelter (hence the “fort” in Fortnite), gather supplies, and devise strategies to fend off the apocalypse. The game is designed to be played with friends.
After multiple complaints by parents and teachers alike, USA Today reported that Epic Games was forced to include a warning on the game’s loading screen urging teenagers not to play during class.
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In the U.K., reports not independently confirmed by PEOPLE said one family was forced to send their 9-year-old daughter to rehab because she became so addicted to the game she wet herself rather than stop playing to use the bathroom.
There are also other aspects of the online game causing concern. In April, the National Crime Agency in the U.K. warned that Fortnite was potentially exposing children to child sex offenders through the game’s chat feature, according to The Telegraph, which connects strangers who are playing at the same time to one another, and can’t be turned off.
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