My eight year old kid has been possessed! I swear he is the devil reincarnated!
Now before you get all Judgy McJudgy-pants on me, let me assure you that I am well aware that I am by no means the textbook "amazing" parent that I'm sure many of you are, and contrary to what you may believe after reading this, I love all my kids, and would do anything for them.... but I don't always like them!
So the asshole child referred to in this is child number 3 (technically #4, RIP my eldest). Up until this year, I thought we'd been doing a fairly good job in raising him. Sure he's number 3, so we get a little more relaxed as we parent more, right? But this kid, was the most empathetic child of all of them. He was supportive of all his peers, he played well with others, hardly spoke a bad word, and was very entertainingly funny. He is super intelligent, and loved making people laugh at his quirky jokes and loved kisses and cuddles. He's always had a naughty streak of course, he's a boy, and young, but never anything that couldn't be worked through....
That is.... until FORTNITE! ARGH!
Now I often read articles that are written rather PC about how their children have been affected by this game, but I don't feel many of them are THAT real or honest, or really explain what it's like! None-the-less, I do wish that these warning articles were around before my son learnt of fortnite, I may have paid some attention! I have since learnt that this game is focussed around killing, in teams or as individuals (nothing new there), getting the best guns and ammo are great, but apparently the skins that are available to purchase make you super cool! There's obviously something addictive in this game that hasn't been reached in previous similar games.
We are a fairly technology focussed household. I build websites, design & print digital graphics, study online, and run 2 businesses which utilise web-based platforms and social media. My husband reads a lot on-line, and my eldest son (17) studies digital media and lives on his PS4. Often leading such busy lifestyles providing for the kids and keeping up with submission dates for assignments etc, means some may class our internet usage as excessive, and it does limit some quality time spent with the kids, especially the youngest. However, he was always happy to play his kids games on his tablet for small bursts, then run around outside, jump on the trampoline, and play with the animals. Of course we did what we could with them, when we could!
Anyway, enough of the introduction, some of you will "get it", some won't - Oh well!
Come this year, and the kid's school introduced technology into the classroom, and after a purchase of a ridiculously priced iPad (because Apple is the school's chosen brand, this pisses me off too, but that's another topic!), my child was able to access a whole new array of programs and apps. At first, it was all harmless, he was playing educational games and tinkering with some of the kids apps. Then somewhere, maybe youtube, maybe his older brother, he learnt of fortnite. I don't game, and from an outside view, it seemed rather innocent.....
Turn the clock forward to 6-8 weeks ago, it's like my son turned into something unrecognisable, and it seemed almost overnight! He became a MONSTER! He was sneaking up during the night, after we went to sleep, and jumping on his iPad to play fortnite ALL NIGHT! We had no idea until we woke up and he's set up in the lounge! Then when we limited his internet access on all his devices to be inaccessible after 9pm and before 7am, he starting sneaking into our room and taking our phones from beside us! What the actual fuck?! He was starting to be reprimanded at school often because he was tired and becoming aggressive. The language that has started to bellow from his once innocent mouth is disgusting, even by my standards (and my standards are pretty low admittedly). The constant screaming at his iPad screen is beyond ridiculous, and every other game player is a "Hacker"! Anything in close proximity gets thrown across the room, doors are slammed, and we sit and wonder what will be broken next.
Now, obviously the simplest option is just to take the iPad off him and ban him from the game right? Of course, why didn't we think of that!
Thing is, I think it went unnoticed for so long before the game started to take such a hold over him, that it's almost like he was in FAR too deep before we recognised it! Call it poor parenting if you like, but whatever it was, we didn't notice it. Now a standard 8 year old meltdown is often nothing more that 5-10 minutes of screaming and crying, often quite entertaining to watch, then something sidetracks them and they go on to the next thing.... NOT OUR KID! This child has bellowed and screamed, and kicked and hit, and threatened to kill himself over and over again for hours on end without letting up! He has thrown things through walls, smashed shit, agressively attacked each of us, and then when he finally quietens down, and you think all your stubbornness at not giving in has finally paid off, you go to check him to find the sneaky little prick has somehow gotten right past you and taken that iPad back! FML!
We've been battling this demon spawn for weeks and weeks on end, and it feels like we keep going around and around in circles, we are back to where he is sneaking our devices while we sleep, or while we cook dinner, or undertake our chores. He finds EVERY single hiding place that the iPad gets put in while he is at home (he does need it for school so cannot completely destroy it or rid ourselves of it), and if he can't find a device to play it, he gets on youtube on the smart TV's and watches someone else play fortnite and get's just as angry!
He is now fighting with his "friends" at school, being constantly violent towards not just us, but even his grandmother, and a day gone by where he doesn't threaten to kill himself is unheard of! WTF?! This kid is EIGHT! I don't even think I heard about suicide until I was at least 12'ish! Punishments don't seem to have much affect, and unfortunately, even seeking assistance by other's has proven difficult.
Sure, we fucked up, we let him play a game that has destroyed him.... we are also human, and we make mistakes.... probably more so than many. But when you start to live in fear of what your eight year old is capable of, it's a super scary existence!
I am tired, I am worn-down, my soul is slowly shattering, how could we fail our boy so badly, and how do we turn this around and come back from here?! I can't keep sleeping with one eye open, just to prevent him getting hold of a device, I can't keep hearing my eight year old tell me how much his life sux and he just doesn't want to be here anymore, and I can't keep thinking about who he might seriously hurt while he is supposed to be gaining an education!
Parenting sux! In a world that is technology based, how do you really protect your children from what is out there? It might "just" be a game, but that game is destroying us all! What's the next game that will have him hooked into its realms? How much more damage can be done?
Don't get me wrong, I don't want a child that conforms to the rules of the world "just because", I certainly don't! I want him to challenge the world, I want him to stand up for himself and his peers, I want him to form his own beliefs and morals and to live his life in the best way for him! I want him to leave this world fulfilled and successful in whatever he chooses for himself, most of all, I want him to enjoy life!
Congratulations Epic Games, you've created something that will make you all gazillionaires! We all want that in life, and you've done it! You've done it at the expense of many, but let's face it, you've made a very wise business decision in creating this monstrosity! I wish you all well, seriously! But parents of young, susceptible minds... BEWARE, please learn from our mistakes, and keep an eye on what your child is doing and how much time they are spending on there!
Whoever has my cheeky, funny, lovable, intelligent, happy, excitable little boy, can we please have him back!
This blog is written by the owner of Nix Dungeon
Nix Dungeon is a primarily web-based business dedicated to our tastes in funky/punk clothing and other novelty items.
Offensive & "Different" Styled clothing a plenty.