Fortnite banned in high schools amid concerns about how it portrays gun violence

3 min


It’s one of the most popular video games around, but Fortnite has now been banned in high schools in Kentucky.

Fortnite is a third-person shooter game but does not feature any gore, earning it an age restriction of 12 by the Video Standards council.

Despite this, authorities in Kentucky are concerned about the violence in the game, and as a result have banned Fortnite for high school eSports programmes.

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Speaking to the Lexington Herald-Leader, Julian Tackett, Commissioner for the Kentucky High School Athletic Association, said: “There is no place for shooter games in our schools.

“Last year, much work went into the development of permission and authorisation forms for Kentucky’s schools to continue with eSports participation. This is not one of the permitted games.”

Fortnite is said to have made Epic Games over $  1 billion so far
Fortnite is a third-person shooter game but does not feature any gore, earning it an age restriction of 12 by the Video Standards council

The link between violent video games and violence in real life has been highly contested by scientists for years.

Last year, a study by researchers from the University of Texas at Arlington found that there’s not enough evidence to support claims that violent video games lead to acts of violence.

In their study, the researchers examined data from over 15,000 participants – firstly from 1995 when they were teens, and then again in 2008 when they were adults.

Dr Michael Ward, an author of the study, said: “While the data show that fighting later in life is related to playing video games as an adolescent, most of this is because, relative to females, males both play games more often and fight more often.

Gun
Fortnite has been banned in high schools amid concerns about how it portrays gun violence

“Estimates that better establish causality find no effect, or a small negative effect. This is my fourth analysis using a fourth methodology and a fourth dataset on actual outcomes that finds no violent effects from video games.”

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The researchers noted that it is important that studies examine real world outcomes, and that they account for other factors.

Dr Ward added: “Video game development is among the fastest evolving forms of human expression ever devised. It is hard for us to imagine the experiences that games developed over just the next few decades will provide.

“It would be a shame to unintentionally, and needlessly, stifle this explosion of creativity with content-based policy interventions.”

However, earlier last year, a study by Ohio State University found that children who play violent video games are more likely to engage with guns in real life.

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Fortnite

In the study, 220 children aged 8-12 were split into pairs, and assigned to play different versions of Minecraft.

The first version was violent and required players to kill monsters with guns, while the second required players to kill monsters with swords. Finally, the third version was non-violent, with no weapons or monsters.

After 20 minutes of gameplay, the children were invited to play in another room with various toys, including two disabled handguns.

The researchers found that 62% of the children who played the video game with gun violence touched the handgun, while about 54% of those who had played the game with sword violence touched the gun.

Meanwhile, only 44% of the children who played the non-violent version touched the gun.

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