Fortnite is super popular, whether you're playing it on a console, a PC or a mobile. It’s free to download and play, but customising a player’s character takes V-Bucks - which cost real money.
Free games rely on small in-game purchases called 'microtransactions' for their income. In Fortnite, players buy V-Bucks (the in-game virtual currency) which they can then use to get extra game content.
Players can buy things like gliders, harvesting tools, backpacks and emotes to personalise their character and its appearance. The in-game upgrades are cosmetic though, and don’t change how the game plays in any way. They won't make anyone a better player or give a character new abilities, but they’ll help you look good while you’re playing.
You can get V-Bucks from the same place the game came from – the online store. They can be bought with pre-purchased credit, or through payment details linked to the store account. This makes them easy to get, but it can be too easy - as many parents have found out to their cost.
Be careful about clicking links to websites offering free or discounted V-Bucks. Most will be trying to either take your credit card or your personal details, putting you at risk of both losing money, and identity theft. You might end up losing your account, or even worse, your money.
If your payment details are linked to the gaming account your child’s using, you can end up with a bill you’re not expecting. The best way to prevent that from happening is to make your children their own gaming accounts, disabling in-app purchases on them, and making sure they can’t use your account to buy them.
Xbox One – Create a passkey for your account to sign in and make purchases, and don’t forget to sign out of your account every time you finish using the console. Parental controls help you manage extra user accounts for your children.
PlayStation – Make child accounts on the PS4 and use parental controls to manage them. You’ll need to authorise any purchases they want to make.
iOS – Use Restrictions on your child’s iPhone/iPod Touch to stop purchases. Disallow in-app purchases for Fortnite (and others) and protect them with a passcode. If you’ve set up Family Sharing, your child can Ask to Buy them.
Microsoft Store – Turn off “Streamline my purchase experience” so a password is needed for each purchase. Check your payment details aren’t saved in the account settings.