This morning, headlines screamed that Prince Harry thinks the popular online game Fortnite should be “banned.”
Yet, I just spent an hour trying to find the quote where he calls for a ban—an enforceable, government ban on this video game. And guess what? It doesn’t exist.
That’s because the Prince didn’t call for a ban. Instead, Harry said “that game shouldn’t be allowed” adding, “…where is the benefit of having it in your household?”
Harry doesn’t explain what entity would ultimately ban or allow certain video games. He doesn’t say. So why the rush to assume he means the government? It’s just as likely—frankly more than likely—that Harry is trying to send a message to parents. After all, it’s parents who should ultimately be making these decisions.
In fact, it’s pretty clear from his follow up comments that it’s parents he’s addressing. He asks, “Where is the benefit of having it in your household? It’s created to addict, an addiction to keep you in front of a computer for as long as possible. It’s so irresponsible. It’s like waiting for the damage to be done and kids turning up on your doorsteps and families being broken down.”
He goes on to say that he believes Fortnite might even be more addictive than drugs and alcohol. That’s taking things a little bit too far but he’s correct that these video games are extremely attractive to young kids and without proper parental oversight, kids will choose to play them for hours on end. I’ve often made this point myself when people blame soda on childhood obesity, while ignoring the fact that tons of kids choose to sit on the couch playing video games rather than running around outside. Who can make that problem go away? Parents telling their kids to turn off the tv or game console and go outside!
The truth is, Harry never suggests a government ban or any sort of government involvement. He’s simply trying to warn parents about these games and implore them to be more involved in their kids’ lives.