Family seeks treatment for 9-year-old ‘addicted’ to playing ‘Fortnite’

A 9-year-old girl has been sent to a treatment center in the U.K. after her parents said she became addicted to the popular online game, 'Fortnite: Battle Royal.'

>> Read more trending news

The girl's parents told British newspaper The Sunday People that they realized their daughter was playing 'Fortnite' so much that her grades were slipping and she started racking up credit card charges on in-game purchases.

"We had no idea, when we let her play the game, of the ­addictive nature or the impact it could have on her mental health,"  said Carol, the girl's mother. "She is in therapy for the addiction after she ­became withdrawn, ­agitated, and disturbed from playing up to 10 hours a day ... sometimes playing until dawn, wetting ­herself so she didn't have to leave the screen."

‘Fortnite: Battle Royal’ is considered one of the most popular video games in the world, with over 40 million active players a month. The fast-paced survival game drops players into a colorful island where they have to fight each other until only one remains.

The New Yorker likened its popularity among teens to Beatlemania and the viral Tide Pod challenge.

Randy Kulman, a child psychologist in Rhode Island, told Live Science that 'Fortnite' addiction is a "phenomenon" that has taken over his practice.

He said many of his patients become obsessed with the game and admit to playing it thousands of times, often hiding from their parents.

Dr. Leonard Sax, the author of "The Collapse of Parenting" and "Boys Adrift," said that a healthy gaming diet for children shouldn't be longer than 40 minutes a night on school nights, and no more than an hour on weekends.

“That adds up to six hours a week. If you spend six hours or less playing games, research suggests it doesn't impact school performance or real-world relationships,” Sax said. “But if you spend more, and there are many who play 20 hours a week, then you're more likely to see an impact.”