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Is Fortnite The New Facebook for Teens?

Do your children play Fortnite? They may be using it for more than gaming. National Research Group (NRG) recently released a study that found that “Fortnite uniquely combines benefits from gaming, social media and streaming platforms,” with young consumers telling them “it’s the best place to ‘be my authentic self’ and ‘connect to what everyone is talking about, making me feel like I’m not alone.’” While the top social platforms still have more users, Fortnite’s user base volume is catching up to the likes of Twitter.

Colleges Tap Gaming as an Engagement Strategy

According Education Dive, some colleges and universities, and even businesses, are using gamification - the use of game-like features such as point-scoring, earning badges and leaderboards - to help engage members of Generation Z and other digital natives. At California State University at Dominguez Hills, students earn prizes for certain on-campus behaviors, such as joining a student group or accessing mental health services. Colleges are hoping to use these tactics as a way to encourage student success, both in and out of the classroom.

New Study: Violent Video Games Not Tied to Violent Behavior

Teenagers who spent more time playing violent video games do not have greater odds of engaging in aggressive behaviors compared with their peers, according to a new study by UK researchers at Oxford University published in Royal Society Open Science and reported in The Independent . The findings were based on data involving 1,000 British youths ages 14 and 15. One of the researchers did comment that games could provoke angry outbursts while playing online, however it doesn’t necessarily translate to real-world aggression. 

Digital Play Benefits Student Learning

Digital play benefits students' learning, according to Jordan Shapiro, an author and senior fellow for the Joan Ganz Cooney Center at Sesame Workshop in an article on Edutopia online. In the piece, Shapiro shares how teachers and parents can embrace game-based learning and digital play and encourage kids to use digital tools as a means of self-expression. He also points out that adults must model the behaviors they expect and not issue mixed messages. For example, many parents harp on their children for constantly being on their phones, but do not manage their own screen time- something their children can clearly pick up on.

Children’s Personal Data at Risk Online

Children's data, including Social Security numbers, is increasingly being sold on the dark web, according to research from Terbium Labs, a Baltimore-based dark web data intelligence company. In her detailed commentary regarding the dark web market, researcher Emily Wilson points out that children's data can be used to commit fraud because most people are not checking their babies and children’s credit reports. Facebook has also been recently charged for their negligence with child data, including the use of a research app to spy on minors and turning a blind eye to so-called “friendly fraud”.

Video Game Treatment May Be Beneficial For ASD, ADHD

Children with ASD (autism spectrum disorder) and concurrent ADHD (attention-deficit/hyperactivity disorder) symptoms who were treated with a new video game tool called Project: EVO saw improvements to their attention spans, according to a study published in the Journal of Autism and Developmental Disorders. Children using the treatment scored better on the TOVA API test, and parents reported that the game helped mitigate ADHD symptoms and helped to improve attention spans according to researchers at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia.

Exergaming Tied To Increased Physical Activity Among Preschoolers

A study in the Journal of Sport and Health Science showed that preschoolers who engaged in exergaming, or played video games with a physical activity component, had increased moderate-to-vigorous physical activity at school after eight weeks compared with those who played outside during recess. The findings also showed increased but not significantly different motor skills and confidence among those in the exergaming group, and exergaming activity was higher among boys than girls. Definitely not a substitute for getting out and playing, but might be a way to keep kids busy in the cold weather.

iCivics Games Teaches Kids About Government

Looking for some alternatives to the usual commercial video games? Try the  iCivics, a site created to link youth passion for online gaming and apps with civic participation. Founded by retired Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O’Connor, iCivics has developed a variety of games that seek to inspire civic engagement and understanding of how local government works. The site has 19 games, which allow players to try their hand at solving international crises, arguing a case before the Supreme Court, running a public interest campaign, sitting on a jury, and more.  

Violent Video Games May Boost Physical Aggression

Researchers found that children and teens who played violent video games had increased odds of having self-, parent-, or teacher-reported aggressive behaviors over time, compared with those who didn't play such video games. The findings were reported in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science and were based on a review of 24 studies from the US, Canada, Germany and Japan involving more than 17,000 young people. The controversial findings are the latest entry into a long-standing debate over the real-world impact of video game violence. Over the years, some studies have found a connection between the games and kids' aggression, while others have not.

The Fortnite Craze – Pros and Cons

According to NBC News, some parents are hiring tutors to help improve their childrens’ Fortnite skills, with one tutoring company receiving up to 1,000 inquiries a day. Boosting popularity at school, becoming a teen influencer for gaming companies or receiving an esports college scholarship are among the reasons parents cite for hiring a tutor. However, there are other parents who are still worried about facets of the online game, including safety and privacy concerns and the chance for being cyberbullied. If you need more information about Fortnite, start with this parent’s guide to the game.