Fortnite as addicting as heroin, family therapist says

A man plays Fortnite game on smartphone. (Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images)

Fortnite has taken the online gaming world by storm ever since its debut in 2017. While some parents have scolded their kids for playing it incessantly, one family therapist says it might go beyond just a game.

Kathryn Smerling, a family therapist who holds a Ph.D. from Fordham University, told FOX Business' Maria Bartiromo on "Mornings With Maria" that discussions of the game have started to enter into her family therapy sessions.

"It's a parental challenge, as there are many challenges, but this has really invaded the family system because it is so addictive," Smerling said. "It is likened to something like heroin."

Smerling mentioned how Britain's Prince Harry recently spoke about the addictive nature of Fortnite, calling it irresponsible to play something that keeps you in front of your computer for as long as possible.

"That game shouldn’t be allowed. Where is the benefit of having it in your household?" Prince Harry asked just a few weeks before he became a father.

Pennsylvania native Kyle Giersdorf won $3 million for the top spot in New York’s global Fornite online video game tournament, which took place July 26 - July 28.

The 16-year-old native defeated more than 100 players competing for $30 million in total prize money. Giersdorf, whose player name is “Bugha,” won the solo finals by scoring 59 points, dominating 26 points above his nearest competitor “psalm,” according to the Fortnite World Cup Leaderboard.

On Tuesday, FOX Business' Stuart Varney spoke with Harrison "Psalm" Chang about his playing style and what he's planning to do with his $1.8 million. "Psalm" is 24 years old, making him one of the oldest players in the competition.

"The average age was 16," "Psalm" told "Varney & Co." "I'll do the smart thing, invest, make more money."

"Psalm" spoke about how quickly the industry has grown in just a few years, and how exciting it is to play in front of a large crowd.

But, no matter where you fall on whether it's a great game or a threat to a gamer's social skills, Smerling insists you can turn it into a way to talk to your kids.

"Parents can talk to their kids about what is happening in Fortnite because it's interesting," Smerling said. "There are teams, there are social aspects to it. So you can make a conversation about it."

However, Smerling insisted parents should still push for developing social skills in their child, which she quantified as "the ability to talk and listen and speak to someone by looking in their eyes so that you get a human response."

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