A nine year old girl has been admitted to rehab after becoming addicted to a video game.
Parents of the unnamed primary school pupil revealed she is undergoing intense therapy for a Fortnite addiction, the Mirror reports.
The girl exhibited a number of obsessive behaviours, including secretly playing at night until the morning and consequently sleeping in class.
She also hit her dad in the face when he tried to take the Xbox gaming console from her, and at one point she neglected going to the loo because she didn’t want to leave the game.
The mum, 36-year-old Carol, told the Sunday People:
We had no idea, when we let her play the game, of the addictive nature or the impact it could have on her mental health.
She is in therapy for the addiction after she became withdrawn, agitated and disturbed from playing up to ten hours a day – sometimes playing until dawn, wetting herself so she didn’t have to leave the screen.
Parents were alerted to the problem after a phone call from school - she had fallen asleep twice in lessons. She became too tired to play sports. Carol noticed payments made from her credit card to Microsoft, and discovered her daughter was making in-game purchases.
Eventually, she contacted a therapist, whom her daughter is now seeing.
Over the last two months I’ve been contacted by dozens of parents with children as young as eight showing signs of addiction to Fortnite.
Fornite has been downloaded more than 40 million times, with people across the world playing the 100-player Battle Royale game.
According to The Times, MPs fear that “a generation of young people could be damaged by new technologies”.
indy100 reached out to children’s charity YoungMinds. Jo Hardy, head of parent services, had some sound advice for parents:
Many of the games that children play online can help them learn and develop new skills – but it’s important to make sure that they’re using them in a way that’s safe and positive for their mental health. Trust your judgement if you’re worried that they’re too violent or inappropriate or that your child is becoming addicted.
Ask your child to teach you about the games they’re playing, check their PGI ratings, and google them to find out more. Try to set clear boundaries as a family on internet and game use - it’s important to monitor and manage this depending on your child’s age. And, if you think that your child is struggling to cope, talk to them openly, listen to what they have to say, don’t rush to judgement and make sure they know that you’ll always be there for them.