If you're a school kid who plays Fortnite, you want to avoid being called a "default" at all costs. Apparently, the word is being flung around as an insult among children, and it's actually quite hurtful.
Fortnite used to be just a game, but now it's also a hangout spot - a spot where standard characters are not welcome. Adults are very unlikely to place much attention on player skins as they're well aware that it's skill that matters. However, it's quite different for kids.
According to a story from Polygon, the younger folk are convinced that better skins mean better skills. Now they're getting bullied into spending money on cosmetics just to play a free game, and these skins can cost up to $20, which translates into money for Epic Games.
No kid wants to be the uncool one among peers, and Fortnite has provided an avenue for showing off how cool one could be, albeit not in real life. If a kid calls you a "default," he or she probably considers you to be a lesser player, and no one wants that.
“On more than one occasion I heard the kids refer to one another as a ‘default,’” middle school teacher Paul Towler claims. “At one point they started to use it just as a generic insult both in and out of the classroom.”
Guy Diep, the father of an eight-year-old boy told Polygon that his son has asked for money to purchase Fornite cosmetics so he isn't branded a "default." However, it's what he's translated from what the boy didn't say that hurts.
“To translate him, he’s actually saying: ‘I NEED this [skin] because of my lack of self-esteem and confidence,’” Diep explains.
“I asked my son why he keeps wanting skins, etc. in Fortnite, simply put there is a bullying regime where players mock others for not having them, this fuels that and causes emotional distress,” Twitter user Monkenstien said.
So basically, kids are actually policing what their peers have their characters wear in a videogame and it's being taken very seriously, to the point where money is being spent just to avoid being bullied.
“There is so much social currency tied into being a part of the [Fortnite] phenomenon, there is an incredible amount of pressure to be cool and stay cool ... than others who play the game,” co-director of the Cyberbullying Research Center Sameer Hinduja says.
“Everyone is vying for that kind of social capital, and so the competition breeds cruelty as everyone tries to one-up others to get to the proverbial top, even at the cost of stepping on others while tearing them down.”
Was Prince Harry onto something when he called for the game to be banned earlier this year? Some parents would probably agree, as it's hurting their pockets.