North Carolina

Fortnite has the same effect as cocaine on kids’ brains, lawyers say

Does the popular video game Fortnite have the same effect on children’s brains as cocaine? A Canadian law firm says the game releases the same pleasure chemicals in the brain as the illicit drug in a new application for a class action lawsuit, according to Canadian reports.

The parents claim North Carolina-based Epic Games preyed on their two Fortnite-addicted kids, 10 and 15, the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation reports.

Attorney Alessandra Esposito Chartrand, with Calex Legal, said the video game company intentionally made the game addictive, according to the CBC.

“Epic Games, when they created Fortnite, for years and years, hired psychologists — they really dug into the human brain and they really made the effort to make it as addictive as possible,” she told the Canadian broadcaster.

Jean-Philippe Caron, also an attorney with Calex, compared the proposed Fortnite lawsuit to complaints against big tobacco in an interview with Quebec radio station 98.5 - Montreal.

Caron said Fortnite knew the dangers to kids who could get hooked on playing the game.

Fortnite, the lawyers argue, releases the chemical dopamine into young brains similar to the way cocaine works, according to the CBC. Children can become dependent on playing Fortnite, similar to a drug addict with cocaine, the CBC reports.

The World Health Organization recognized video game addiction as a health condition for the first time last year.

The WHO says gaming disorder is “characterized by impaired control over gaming, increasing priority given to gaming over other activities to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other interests and daily activities, and continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences.”

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Charles Duncan covers what’s happening right now across North and South Carolina, from breaking news to fun or interesting stories from across the region. He holds degrees from N.C. State University and Duke and lives two blocks from the ocean in Myrtle Beach.