Fortnite addicts are playing a very dangerous game with their own lives

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A 15-YEAR-OLD British schoolboy has won nearly £1million at the world finals of the globally successful video game Fortnite.

Jaden Ashman, from Essex, says he will now buy his mum a house, upgrade his internet and, once he’s left school, probably become a gaming pro.

Phil Penman

Jaden Ashman, 15, from Essex, has won nearly £1million at the world finals of the globally successful video game Fortnite — burt at what price?[/caption]

Win, win  . . . right? Wrong.

Gaming, we oldies must accept, is fast becoming a career option for young lads and, reminiscent of the ’70s Russian hothouses for gymnasts, it seems that “e-sports teams” are already providing apartments in which those old enough to leave home can live and practise with other talented players.

But at what price to their future and society as a whole?

If further proof is needed, an eye-watering 40million “gamers” applied to take part in the World Cup in New York where Jaden and other “tweens” triumphed.

It’s a far cry from the days when we had to pop down the pub and wait for our turn on the Space Invaders machine. Are we now hurtling towards an existence when future generations will rarely see daylight and only communicate with others via an electronic device?

Alamy

All over Britain, there are young lads spending hour after hour staring at a screen while ‘life’ — i.e the beauty of fresh air/culture/face-to-face interaction etc — is seemingly passing them by[/caption]

Jaden says he practises for eight hours each weekday (and freely admits his studies suffer) and 14 hours a day at weekends. Which, factoring in sleep, leaves little time for anything else.

And he’s not alone. All over Britain, there are young lads spending hour after hour staring at a screen, obsessively trying to reach a similar level of skill while “life” — i.e the beauty of fresh air/culture/face-to-face interaction etc — is seemingly passing them by.

At least Jaden actually attends school. Many of his fellow gamers are “home schooled” to accommodate the worrying number of hours they spend cyber-shooting at opponents.

And they’re further facilitated in their obsession by Fortnite’s developer Epic recently lowering the competition’s age limit from 16 to 13.

How considerate of them. Even more money pouring in to its coffers as yet more kids become hooked on the gaming equivalent of crack.

Prince Harry, an advocate of trying to improve the rapidly declining mental health of young people, recently said of Fortnite: “That game shouldn’t be allowed. It’s created to addict, to keep you in front of a computer.”

Getty – Pool

Prince Harry, an advocate of trying to improve the rapidly declining mental health of young people, said of Fortnite: “That game shouldn’t be allowed. It’s created to addict, to keep you in front of a computer”[/caption]

Indeed it is. But banning it would be a legal minefield and potentially enhance its appeal.

And it’s painfully clear that desperate parents are struggling with the twin forces of wanting to stop their children playing it, but not wanting to make them feel ostracised from their gaming peers in the play-ground.

So perhaps Epic and other major gaming companies must be encouraged (or, if needs be, forced via legislation) to impose a time limit on how long under-18s can play within a 24-hour period.

If not, where will this online phenomenon lead us once these gamers stop winning and have to find a normal job, like the rest of us?

Unlike the joke, “old gamers never die, they just become skeletons in someone else’s dungeon” it’s no laughing matter.

Meg mag not en vogue

THE tirelessly virtue-signalling Duchess of Sussex – aka Meghan – has edited the iconic “September issue” of British Vogue.

But when editor Edward Enninful asked her to be on the cover, she reportedly declined on the basis that it would be “boastful”.

James Whatling

Time, and sales, will tell if Meghan’s British Vogue issues proves to be a bigger turkey than the Christmas offering at Balmoral[/caption]

Was this a not very subtle dig at her sister-in-law Kate, who graced the cover in June 2016?

Whatever, Meghan has opted to feature 15 “trailblazing” women on the front instead – including campaigners on disability and mental health.

Inside, she loftily (and, er, boastfully) describes it as an issue of “substance and levity”.

A noble aim, for sure, but history and “best-selling magazine” lists tell us that a cover shot of a model or celebrity wearing pretty clothes always outsells worthiness.

Particularly, one suspects, when that magazine’s loyal band of readers buy it because it’s the “fashion Bible”.

Time, and sales, will tell if it proves to be a bigger turkey than the Christmas offering at Balmoral.

MARINA’S LUCKY ESCAPE

IT’S been confirmed that Carrie Symonds will live with new PM Boris Johnson at No10 Downing Street, which makes them the first unmarried couple to reside there officially.

Until his divorce is finalised, Boris remains married to second wife Marina Wheeler, with whom he has four children.

Marina, a lawyer,  stood by him for 25 years (and various lurid revelations about his private life), but eventually kicked him  out last summer.

So I wonder how she feels upon seeing her husband’s new girlfriend take on the role of the nation’s “First Lady?”

Fury that it’s not her standing on the threshold of the country’s powerhouse?

Or abject relief that’s she finally free of the whole, emotionally draining circus?

One rather suspects it’s the latter.

Glove Island? No chance

Rex Features

Can you see them in chunky knits and furry boots, huddled around a fire pit?[/caption]

IT has been announced that a second series of Love Island is to be filmed in the British winter,  prompting an image of various twentysomethings in chunky knits and furry boots, huddled around a fire pit. And a new title of “Glove Island”, perhaps?

But no. It will be filmed in South Africa, where it will be summer. You didn’t think they’d forego the ratings-attracting sight  of all those body beautiful in bikinis and trunks,  did you?

Amy’s Blake is such a dope

AMY Winehouse’s former husband Blake Fielder-Civil is making a £1million claim on her estate eight years after her death.

Getty Images – Getty

Blake Fielder-Civil is making a £1million claim on Amy Winehouse’s estate eight years after her death[/caption]

Blake – who admits he introduced the star to heroin – says she wrote some of her best-selling songs during the six years they were together so he deserves a slice of the proceeds, despite receiving a £250,000 pay-off when they divorced.

Amy’s parents, Janis and Mitch, are said to be distraught over the claim, but are they really surprised? After all, “my Blake incarcerated” as Amy once referred to him during his spell in prison, was parasitic in life, so it figures he’d be parasitic in death too.

Let’s hope his shameless money grab fails.

FEAR PILL HARD TO SWALLOW

PHARMACEUTICAL giant AstraZeneca says five of its new medicines are set to become what’s classed as “blockbuster” drugs – a term that refers to $1billion sales in the first year.

It’s cancer drug Lynparza is already on track to achieve that. Meanwhile, asked about the looming possibility of a no-deal Brexit, AstraZeneca’s chief executive, Pascal Soirot, says the company has been planning for it for three years.  “We are as ready as we can be and will do our best to make sure patients don’t miss medications.”

Which, despite what the Project Fear lot might tell us, is exactly what every self-respecting business will have done.

Bronson right on ex Paula

PAULA WILLIAMSON has died at the age of just 38.

Paula was married to Charles Bronson,  a man with the dubious honour of being named “Britain’s most violent prisoner”.

Rex Features

Whatever the circumstances of Paula’s death, it’s incredibly sad that the life of such a bright and vibrant woman has ended so soon[/caption]

Bronson warned ex-wife Paula would be ‘dead in two’ years without help

I interviewed her  and expected her to be noticeably odd. She wasn’t. She was intelligent, rational, attractive and well turned out.

The first time we met – on ITV’s Loose Women – she seemed emboldened by her connection to Bronson and, despite my scepticism, obviously felt their relationship was genuine.

The second time – after he’d dumped her because of a jokey photo showing another man’s head in her cleavage – she was heartbroken and sadly diminished by being cast aside.


Eerily, I read out Bronson’s legal “right of reply” in which he claimed that Paula had a drink and prescription drug problem, adding: “She needs to get help. I’ll miss her but she needs to sort herself out or she’ll be dead in two years.” That was in July last year.

Whatever the circumstances of Paula’s death, it’s incredibly sad that the life of such a bright and vibrant woman has ended so soon.


Decked for Brexit

SIX people have been injured during a brawl on a luxury cruise liner.

GMB reporter Richard Gaisford was on board P&O’s Britannia for the trip around the Norweg- ian fjords and says the fight broke out after an afternoon of “patriotic” partying on deck.

Pure conjecture, of course, but could it have been a dreaded Brexit debate that got seriously out of hand?


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