FEAR BEHIND FUN
and confiscated her Xbox. But then she lashed out and hit my husband in the face.”
Despite limiting their daughter’s time on the game to one hour on school nights and two on weekends, they were still suspicious.
Carol said: “My husband saw her light on in the night and found her sitting on a urine-soaked cushion playing the game.
“I found her backside was redraw. She was so hooked to the game she wouldn’t even go to the toilet.”
The next morning they sat her down and asked her to tell the truth.
The mum said: “Crying, she told us that every night for the past two months she had waited until we were asleep and then got up to play, sometimes until 5am.
“We worked out that she could have been playing for up to ten hours a day, and we’d had no idea.”
The parents contacted addictions counsellor Steve Pope, who agreed to see the girl for psychotherapy. Steve told the Sunday People: “Over the last two months I’ve been contacted by dozens of parents with children as young as eight showing signs of addiction to Fortnite.
“I’ve been working in this field for three decades and never seen INTERNET Matters ambassador and psychologist Dr Linda Papadopoulos says: “Games can become quite addictive for children because they’re fun in the way that cartoons are fun.
“A lot of apps or games act on the brain in the same way that an itch that needs to be scratched.
“Game creators encourage users to spend as long as possible on their anything like it, how widespread and potentially damaging this is.
“I know bright kids who will fail their exams this summer because of Fortnite, kids who are stealing from their parents and friends to pay for the extras, kids who urinate in bottles because they can’t bear game by playing on the basic psychological principles of reward and punishment. “This can be dangerous as children don’t have much control over manipulation of their brain’s reward system. “Parents need to look out for changes in behaviour and make sure their child has a good balance with other social and physical activities.” to leave the game.” Experts claim it is the high-profile celebrity endorsements in recent weeks that have fuelled exposure.
Steve added: “You see Premier League footballers celebrating goals with Fortnite dances and it’s the biggest possible advert for kids.
“It’s the perfect gateway into addiction and gambling.”
Professional gamers are making up to £500,000 a month from livestreaming their Fortnite games for addicted children to watch.
The nine-year-old girl in our report is slowly getting back on track with her sports and schooling.
But her mum said: “I urge every parent out there to know what this game can do, how it sucks young children in and could ruin lives.”
Culture Secretary Matt Hancock has warned that addictive online shooter games such as Fortnite have a damaging impact on children.