Are Parents Losing the Battle Against Gaming Kids?
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Everybody loves a freebie. Letting people have a game without charging them can do a lot of good for everyone. It gives companies exposure, which they can use to sell add-ons or promote other games. It gives people a chance to have something to enjoy, even if they are on a budget. But, is it possible that these free games can be bad for people. Well, if people aren’t careful, it could lead to some detrimental effects. Those freebies could be harmful to some folks’ health.

Let’s focus on two particular freebies for the sake of discussion. Epic Games’ Fortnite is available for free on pretty much every possible platform now. Anyone can enjoy the battle royale experience. In addition, Call of Duty: Black Ops III was made a free PlayStation Plus game during E3 2018. This was a great way of hyping up Call of Duty: Black Ops IIII, the next entry in the series. Simultaneously, it made the PlayStation Plus subscription service more attractive. Both of these seem like great things, but major downsides can stem from both being free.

I mean, there are plenty of cases people can use to skew the situation and make free games seem like a bad idea. They could even suggest they are dangerous. Parents and teachers are concerned about Fortnite, for example. The Daily Mail reported on a case where a nine-year-old girl became so addicted, she hit her father for trying to take away her Xbox One, was playing all night, and even wet herself rather than stop playing. On an even sadder note, whenever a school shooting occurs in the United States, people immediately leap to look and see if they played video games. In particular, if Call of Duty was one of the titles they played. The fact that both have been free would only make it easier to blame or criticize the games. Considering the world we live in, I could imagine some getting litigious about it.

But really, we should never take free games as a bad thing. These are never released with ill intentions. Companies instead do it as a means to make money. Fortnite thrives because of the microtransactions and people willing to pay for extras. Activision only gives away any free Call of Duty games or elements when it needs to get people excited about new games it wants to sell. Such actions are never malicious. They are only there to try and further their own means. 

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Rather, free games are only dangerous when people do not use them correctly. By which I mean, when folks decide to be irresponsible. In the case of both the effect of Call of Duty and Fortnite, it can come down to the player or player’s guardians not being aware enough. There is always a danger of addiction. In the case of that nine-year-old so obsessed with Fortnite, her parents should have been more aware of what the kid was playing. They should have restricted playtime, to ensure she dedicated enough time for homework, sleep, and other activities. Discipline is key. With teenagers or adults battling game addiction or seeing games impacting their personality, they need to learn to moderate and control themselves. They have to set schedules, step away, and show some maturity. 

Anything could be considered dangerous, if you look at it in the worst light. Free games, if not used properly, could be trouble. But, that is only if parents and guardians do not keep track of children’s usage. Or, with older people, if they do not keep track of their other obligations and remember to check in with the real world. Addiction can be a very real threat, but only if people let it. If they take these free games, basically gifts, and are responsible or have people in their life who help them set limits, everyone can enjoy them and be happy.

Jenni Lada
Jenni Lada

Writing Team
Date: 06/19/2018

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