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Being a child psychologist and a father, Randy Kulman is no stranger to video games popular among kids. But a few months ago in his office, after four teenagers in a row mentioned "Fortnite," he started wondering if he was dealing with something new this time.
In the following weeks, more kids and their concerned parents proved his hunch, and so did the numbers. "Fortnite: Battle Royale" is indeed the most popular game in the world right now. The fast-pace survival game, in which 100 players are dropped onto a colorful island and fight until only one remains, has over 40 million active monthly players, and its videos are the most watched on YouTube and the streaming platform Twitch. Likened in the New Yorker to Beatlemania and the viral Tide Pod challenge, "Fortnite" has become a social phenomenon engulfing children and adults alike, including Major League Baseball players, whom you might have seen breaking into the game's dances (called "emotes") on the field.
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All of these behaviors are signs of a problematic relationship with video gaming, driving parents and teachers to ask if they are losing the children to "Fortnite." But kids' obsession with video games has a history: So is Fortnite just having a moment, or is it more addictivethan previous games?
Draw - 'Fortnite
What's behind the draw of 'Fortnite'?
Although "Fortnite" is immensely popular, some psychologists note the obsessive behaviors associated with it are nothing new.
Pattern - Patients - Practice - Emily - Gifford
"I do see a similar pattern among the patients in my practice," said Emily Gifford, a clinical psychologist in Westchester, New York. Some of her "Fortnite"-obsessed patients, too, are struggling to manage their time and are constantly fighting with their parents about when they can get back on the game....
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