A nine year old girl has been sent to a rehabilitation facility after becoming addicted to online game Fortnite within six months. The unnamed girl was apparently given the Xbox as a gift in January, and she downloaded Fortnite to play the co-op sandbox survival game and see what all her friends were talking about. In the game, strangers get dropped on an island and are forced to compete against each other until only one is left standing - think The Hunger Games, but less gory. It quickly became obvious that she was spending too much time playing it, and by mid-March her parents were contacted by the head teacher of her school over concerns that her grades were slipping and she was regularly falling asleep in class. The little girl had become too tired to go to her gym and ballet classes at all.
Her parents, Carol and Richard, started to do a little digging and realised there were regular payments of roughly £50 leaving their account and going to Microsoft every month. After realising how bad her problem had gotten, her parents went to confiscate her Xbox but she lashed out, hitting her father in the face. They walked into her room at 5am and she was still awake and playing the game, sitting in a puddle of her own urine because she had been so engrossed she wouldn't get up to use the toilet. Carol told the Mirror: "My husband saw her light on in the night and found her sitting on a urine-soaked cushion playing the game. I found her backside was red raw. She was so hooked to the game she wouldn’t even go to the toilet." Shocked, they finally sat down for a heart to heart with their daughter where she admitted that she had been secretly playing the game for ten hours a day, and regularly stayed up until 5am.
Since Fortnite was released last July, more than 40 million people have downloaded the game and its become a cultural phenomenon partly due to its simplicity. Adults and children have both been hooked, and relationships have been ruined after people have struggled to pull themselves away from the online game. This young girl has been getting psychotherapy treatment for her psychological issues and has started to take part in her old hobbies again, but the story will be a scary one for all parents reading. Her mum said: "I urge every parent out there to know what this game can do, how it sucks young children in and could ruin lives."