Live

Watch CBSN Live

Prince Harry suggests Fortnite should be banned, calls it "an addiction"

What parents should know about Fortnite

Prince Harry is suggesting that the popular online video game Fortnite should not be allowed because it's too addictive. The Duke of Sussex spoke at an event at a YMCA in west London on Wednesday, where he criticized the excessive use of social media and gaming.

Of Fortnite, he said: "That game shouldn't be allowed. 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."

The prince added that social media can be "more addictive than alcohol and drugs, yet it's more dangerous because it's normalized and there are no restrictions to it."

Fortnite has roughly 200 million registered players worldwide. It is free to download, though the game does include in-game purchases that cost actual money. Players are dropped into an island or arena where they battle other players with various weapons in a battle-royal type setting where the last player standing wins. Each match lasts around 20 minutes. 

According to a 2018 survey from Common Sense Media, 61 percent of U.S. teens have played the game, while 24 percent of parents worry about the amount of time their kids spend on it.

Dr. Sue Varma, a board certified psychiatrist and assistant professor at NYU Langone Medical Center told "CBS This Morning" Thursday that playing games like Fortnite gives kids a hit of the hormone dopamine.

"We're finding that just anticipation alone of the video games can increase your dopamine by 70 percent in the brain, which is the pleasure and reward system. But the problem is that these young kids, their developing brain, has the foot on the gas but it doesn't have a foot on the brake so they don't have the same control and regulation. The kids don't know when to stop," Varma said.

She said players can develop a "craving" for games and when they're interrupted, can get extremely irritable. She said there have even been cases of violence, where kids break into their parents' car to get their devices or even steal credit cards in order to play.

"Most kids are able to regulate their playing. But we are finding that kids that are more vulnerable, who might be prone to depression or anxiety or have difficulty making friends, might be using this as a form of coping or avoidance," she said.