Is your child obsessed by Fortnite? Here's a parent's guide to the online gaming sensation as the new season 9 arrives

Fortnite has taken the online gaming world by storm
Fortnite has taken the online gaming world by storm

Fortnite has taken the online gaming world by storm and this week launches Season 9 with gamers ready to get their teeth into the latest incarnation of the virtual world.

But do you know your Battle Royal from your skin, do you know what an AR is or have you got any idea about 'vaulting'?

We're guessing not that many parents out there do understand the jargon, or how to make sure their youngster is safe online.

So we have pulled together this guide to help you get to grips.

What is Fortnite?

Fortnite is an online game. Users are playing against people of different ages from across the world, and Fortnite has in game audio chat so that players can talk and interact with each other as they play.

Battle Royale is a part of Fortnite where players do not have to pay to play. In Battle Royale, the free segment of Fortnite, 100 players compete against each other to be the last person standing in player vs player (PVP) combat.

Players are dropped onto the game map and are challenged to kill every other player in the game. During the game, players collect weapons, build safe structures, and try to avoid the Storm that damages all players outside of a safe zone. Unlike the Save the World version, there aren't any zombies to kill, which makes it a less scary version to play. However, players can buy items to make themselves look like a zombie or another creepy character.

There are three modes of play in Battle Royale: Solo, Duo, and Squad. In Solo mode, you're dropped into the game alone. In Duo, you're dropped in with a partner. In Squad mode, you play on a team of four. Duos and Squads can either be friends choosing to play together or randomly matched players. All players in a match are playing in the same mode.

Don't worry if you’ve never played Fortnite or a Battle Royale game before. Playground mode lets players get used to the mechanics of the game without the pressure of fighting other gamers. So, if you’re rusty with a particular gun, need to practice building structures, or even want to try out the vehicles like golf carts or shopping carts without being shot, this is the mode for you. Playground sessions are limited to a maximum of four players, and you can even put everyone on the same team to eliminate the possibility of friendly fire.

What is Save the World?

Save the World is the traditional solo campaign in the game Fortnite. Unlike in Battle Royale, where players compete against each other, players in the Save the World mode are survivors of an apocalyptic storm where the few remaining humans must band together to defeat creepy zombie-like creatures called husks.

What age rating is Fortnite?

Fortnite has a PEGI rating of 12, PEGI have said this is due to the: ‘frequent scenes of mild violence. It is not suitable for persons under 12 years of age’. This PEGI rating only takes into account the content in the game and not the contact element, where players may be exposed to swearing and offensive language from strangers in voice or on-screen text chat.

How long is a match of Fortnite: Battle Royale?

Each match in Battle Royale lasts about 20 minutes, although players who are killed early play for less time.

What do you need to know?

You need to create an account: In order to play Fortnite you have to create an account. To create this account you need to provide an email address (which you will have to verify) and display/user name. However you are not asked your age in order to create an account.

You are playing against other players: as Fortnite is an online game you will play against players of different ages from across the world. You can turn this communication off in your setting or choose who you play against. You are also able to block or mute other players who are behaving in an inappropriate manner.

You can make in game purchases: although Battle Royale is free to play, other aspects of the game are not. There are packs which give you different access to the full game and extensions, in game currency and 'skins' which edit the design of your character. These start at £8 and go up to £119.99. The game does ask players to make additional in-game purchases whilst playing, though these are not required to play the game.

The graphics: Fortnite does feature violence when players are in combat with each other, the animation of the game is very cartoonish, and the violence isn't bloody or gory. However, it is worth noting that the aim of Fortnite is to defeat other players by fighting against them.

Where you can play: Fortnite is currently available on PC, Mac, PlayStation and XBox , and on IOS (apple products) and Android. It is downloadable from the Fortnite website, this download gives access to both the free and paid for versions of the game.

Advice from the UK Safer Internet Centre is:

Have an open and honest conversation with your child. It’s important to involve yourself in your child’s online life and a simple and effective way to this is by talking to them about their life online. Try to maintain an open dialogue with your child and find opportunities to talk to them about what they love to do online. Parents can help children access the amazing resources the internet has to offer whilst keeping them safe online at the same time.

Asking your child about how they play Fortnite and what they like about it is a great way to start a conversation. Our conversation starters can help you to have this conversation.

Play with them. It may seem daunting, but one of the best things that you can do is to engage with the gaming environment and begin to understand what makes Fortnite so attractive to young people, as well as giving yourself an idea of the reporting tools available within the game.

Know how to make a report. On Fortnite you can report players who are behaving inappropriately by using the in-game feedback tool located in the game Main Menu, you can also make a report by emailing the creators of Fortnite.

See what other people think of Fortnite. Common Sense Media allow parents and young people to give their reviews of games that they have played. They have created a very useful video guide to Fortnite with footage of the gameplay involved.