Why are Fortnite and Minecraft so good

Stiftung Warentest: Minecraft and Fortnite "unacceptable" for children

In many cell phone games, the protection of minors is poor. This is what Stiftung Warentest found in a test of 14 popular, mostly free mobile phone games ("Test" magazine, 10/2019 issue). None of the apps that are mostly available for both Android and iOS, including titles such as Minecraft and Fortnite, are not recommended in the opinion of the experts.

Stiftung Warentest rated 13 of 14 apps as "unacceptable", only Pokémon Go received the rating "questionable". This is due, among other things, to data protection, which according to the product test is not appropriate for any of the games. 10 of the 14 apps, including Minecraft and Fortnite, show very clear shortcomings in this area: They collect too much data or monitor users, want to access chat texts or voice messages. Some data protection declarations are not formulated in a child-friendly manner as required. Sometimes apps also transmit usage data when users switch off so-called tracking.

In-app purchases can be expensive

In-app purchases, for example for digital accessories such as costumes for game characters, are partly not transparent. That could be a cost trap, especially for children. Hundreds of euros can be spent quickly, says Stiftung Warentest. Many games ask you to buy, either directly or indirectly - for example, because the flow of the game can hardly continue without paying extras. In such cases, the experts advise blocking in-app purchases, for example with a password in the Google Play Store that the child does not know.

At Apple, purchases can be deactivated under "Settings" in the "Screen time" function. Not giving any payment details at all is most effective.

"Disturbing Content"

The experts also encountered "disturbing content" in the games, whose age recommendations are between 0 and 12 years of age. Anyone who goes online may encounter sexual, violent or extremist content in some titles. For example, when groups or individual players name themselves after porn sites or right-wing extremist player names give themselves.

According to the product test, reporting such violations only works moderately in the tested apps. She recommends letting the child play offline only if the app allows it. In this way, parents also prevent children from spending money or chatting with strangers.

In general, parents should check all security settings regularly, writes Warentest. The foundation advises keeping an eye on the children's games and trying them out for yourself. That helps to get an idea for yourself.

According to the information, parents can get help in finding suitable apps for children on the page klick-tipps.net. The website is supported by Jugendschutz.net, a federal and state competence center for child and youth protection on the Internet and a cooperation partner of the foundation when it comes to reviewing mobile phone games. The USK video game testing center is only responsible for games that appear on physical media. Download titles and mobile games are often not submitted for review. Epic Games submitted Fortnite in the summer - the USK approved the game for ages 12 and up. (there)

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