Fortnite nearly killed my son, George is 13 and has always been a big gamer, so when Fortnite came out he was elated, a fab game he could play with his small group of friends. George has always been a quiet boy, shy and struggled to fit in at School, but when he was gaming he came alive and beamed with joy.
George asked for an extra game called Fortnite save the world, I happily paid the £25 fee and George was very grateful. George spent a month building guns and gathering resources, soon his friends went off on a week long school trip which George didn’t want to attend.
After a few days of his friends being away he realised how lonely he felt whilst gaming so he started playing with strangers. I did keep an eye on it and ensured he was only playing with kids of a similar age. In the game you can swap resources, George made the error of trusting someone who asked to see all his weapons etc and George dropped them, the other person stole all his online stuff.
To many this may not seem like a big deal, but when your child has worked so hard for something and it’s his safe place where he can feel alive and be himself, it really is a huge issue.
I could hear George begging for his stuff back and this other child laughing his head off over the mic, mocking my sons distressed sobs. George lost all his stuff, but he lost more than that he lost his happy place. I tried my best to comfort my sensitive son but he was adamant he wanted me to leave his room, he became angry, I thought it best to let him calm down and check on him later.
I left it an hour and knocked on his bedroom door, no reply, I knocked again, still no answer, I screamed his name, again silence, the door was locked, I hammered and hammered on it before kicking it open.
There lay my baby boy with a plastic bag over his head, he had cellotaped the opening around his neck, I ripped at the bag, freeing my sons air ways, I rushed to call the emergency services, placing them on load speaker whilst I gave my baby cpr.
My son wasn’t gone he was still there he was barely breathing but it was life, my boy was alive.
10 minutes later the paramedics arrived and he was rushed to hospital. It’s been 2 months since George attempted to take his life, he sees a therapist and all his gaming is limited to off-line games unless I am sat with him.
Please remind your children that it is just a game, not to put to much of their time or energy in to it, gaming should be fun, when it starts taking over STOP, step back, please don’t let your child become obsessed with gaming.