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Fortnite storm circle closes in on classrooms

%22Kids+play+it+walking+down+the+hall+and+during+breaks.+They+need+to+get+off+their+phones+sometime%2C%E2%80%9D+WSMS+assistant+principal+Dr.+Rodgers%2C+said.

"Kids play it walking down the hall and during breaks. They need to get off their phones sometime,” WSMS assistant principal Dr. Rodgers, said.

-photo by Sydney Stout, photo editor

-photo by Sydney Stout, photo editor

"Kids play it walking down the hall and during breaks. They need to get off their phones sometime,” WSMS assistant principal Dr. Rodgers, said.

LeopardLife Zach Dillard, Will Doig, Anthony Morgello, and Mathias Alling, Staff Writers

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“The storm’s right behind us!” -a common phrase heard in the school and around the campus. From playing a game between classes in the hallways or at the beginning of instruction to being a lunch-time favorite, Fortnite and PUBG (PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds) while popular, may become distractions for some students.

The currently more popular of the two, Fortnite, was the first to make the jump to the phone. It worked by using a system where the user would sign up to get an invitation by email. If they got an invite this way, they were given three codes to give to other players to play.

Policies prohibiting students to play during class, however, are not new and have been in the handbook for some time. The expectations and enforcement of the policies were announced last month, reminding students of campus expectations. The presentation covered the ways technology may be used and punishments for misuse.

“These rules were put in place to improve student’s safety and ensure that all kids on this campus have a safe, healthy, and happy learning environment,” assistant principal, Dr. James Rodgers, said in another article in LeopardLife about the policies.

Requirements have students putting electronic devices in the front of the room or at the back of the room in phone holders. Staff members adhere to these rules, saying that cell phones have become a distraction. Although many say this is effective, some are opposed to it, stating that it can not be enforced because students may just put it in backpacks or pockets. Teachers are implementing this rule so that students don’t think about getting their phones out during class and possibly playing these games.

“I do not think it (Fortnite and PUBG) is (a distraction) since you have to put away your phone,” seventh-grader, Vaughn Willard, said.

Many people say both games are rapidly increasing in popularity and have become favorites all around campus. Some teachers reported that getting a class started is more difficult. They have to remind students to put away technology before class starts. Some students walk into class with their phones on hand and don’t remember to put it into the pockets. The teachers are bothered by having to constantly remind them.

Not only is the game distracting kids, but it’s also affecting students learning. After work is done few plays the games; this can result in a distraction to other students who are trying to learn. In result of this students often focus primarily on the games rather than keeping up with their work from the classroom.

“If a student lets the video game come before other responsibilities, there may be a drop in grade averages. Some students are so obsessed with Fornite that it has been hard to keep them focused on what they need to learn at the end of the year,” Rodgers, said.

“I definitely catch myself playing in class; It’s just really addictive,” seventh-grader, Cameron Morelli, said. “Sometimes, I’ll get really close to winning, but right when I’m about to win, the teacher makes me put it up. Every time this happens, I always need to start a new game. The rush of getting close is what keeps me playing.”

Teachers said the school rule is to not have phones out in the hallways or classrooms. Students on the games in the hallways and classrooms is a distraction when students arrive home from a long day of school, they pull out their phones to play these games.

“I feel like Fortnite is overrated anyway,” eighth-grader, Alexandria Willard, said. “I really don’t get how people are letting it take priority over schoolwork. Yeah, it’s fun I guess, but is it really enough to take away from studying for a major grade?”

While it’s popular on campus there are some negative impacts and connections. Both the American Psychological Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics take a firm stance against children and teens playing violent video games like Fortnite. Not only do they believe that it’s a distraction, but they also think it could be related to some of the recent gun violence with students.

Although many say that Fortnite helps people relax, excessive play is shown to have negative effects. Few play in hourly times, but most play for hours and hours longer. This mainly applies to having a lack of balance in your schedule. One danger of playing Fortnite is the lack of sleep. Lack of sleep can lead to many things such as depression, fatigue, and general grogginess. Some state that the violent aspects, although cartoonish, can accelerate the process in one form or another. This is one of the reason that “No-Tech Tuesday” has been implemented. The goal of ‘No Tech Tuesday’ is to get students off of electronics, to help them socialize, and to limit technology exposure. This is all to help promote a healthy lifestyle.

“I think mental health problems come from extensive play of any kind of game because you’re not having balance in your life. Because you’re spending too much time being isolated, too much time indoors, too much time you know not eating, sleeping, exercising,” WSMS counselor, Kay Bordelon, said. “But when you add the violent part of a video game in you are exacerbating all of those problems because you’re spending time with a game that you know you’re saturating your senses with violence so that just accelerates the problems.”

Although many sources state that Fortnite’s violent aspects can cause dangers to mental health, it is hard to see if it is affecting WSMS because of lack of a way of gauging it. Many state that this is because no one will come up and say that they are being affected by fortnite, or even know that they are.

“It’s really hard to say if someone is mean to someone else. Let’s just say they get mad and shove someone into a locker. They would never come in here and say ‘well I did it because I was playing Fortnite’. Or we won’t hear someone say ‘I’m depressed because I play Fortnite more than 18 hours a day’. So it’s really hard for us to make that direct connection because it’s never really clear of students who are depressed or anxious,” Bordelon said.

After previous struggles with Fortnite and other mobile distractions, WSMS has implemented a new way to try and counter the increase in mobile device usage. The new No Tech Tuesday is a way to socialize and stop people from socially disconnecting with each other. The staff hopes that this rule that has been implemented will help with the excessive play of the games.

“I would guess there could be a correlation between the two! Kids play it walking down the hall and during breaks. They need to get off their phones sometime,” WSMS assistant principal Dr. Rodgers, said.

With the new technology usage, the school has now implemented a new program that can track the technology uses of students and staff. The program is linked directly to the school google accounts so no matter what device a student is on as long as the google account is there it may monitor your history.

“We have implemented a program that helps us track students computer activity and we are conferencing with students who are on unauthorized and may issue punishments,” Bordelon said.

-graphic by Audrey McCaffity, staff writer
Students have different opinions about Fortnite.

Although Fortnite has become popular with both males and females, there seems to be a disparity of playtime between the genders. This may be for a number of reasons but the disparity is also in different grade levels. Seventh-graders have been shown to be more likely to play Fortnite in class than the eighth-graders.

“From my experience, there’s a greater amount of male users than female users,” Bordelon said.

If a student is caught using an inappropriate/unauthorized site there are a number of punishments ranging from a lunch detention to Friday Night School.

“Students who use unauthorized sites may lose technology privileges, and/or receive consequences such as community service during Friday Night School,” Bordelon said.

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Fortnite storm circle closes in on classrooms