Long Island teenager Griffin Spikoski is the subject of A Misfit Story: Sceptic/How a 14-Year Became a Fortnite King, a documentary released on YouTube earlier this month. During the short film, the gamer, known to his 1.2 million YouTube channel subscribers as “Sceptic,” explained what it takes to earn six-figures playing video games.
Spikoski and his family revealed that some days the teenager would spend upwards of 18 hours playing the popular video game Fortnite, which he live-streams for the subscribers of his YouTube channel. The videos have been watched over 71 million times, illustrating the popularity of Esports.
But how does the popularity of Fortnite translate into a 14-year-old earning $200,000 in 2018? Fabian Illanes, a gaming video creator, tells Parentology it may have more to do with Spikoski’s Sceptic than the game itself. Of his own favorite live-streams, Ilanes says, “It’s not about the game or the gameplay; the stream itself was colorful — full of images of memes, funny clips and sound bites and the streamer is hilarious.”
Even Epic Games, the developers behind Fortnite, see the value professional players bring to the gaming world. The developers offered $1M in prize money for the 2018-2019 gaming season, proving once more there’s money to be made by playing video games. But should parents of aspiring gamers let their children follow in Spikoski’s footsteps?
For Spikosi’s parents, letting their son become a full-time gamer may have seemed like a logical next step as he’d been playing video games since he was three years old. But Dr. Don Grant, Executive Director of Resolutions Teen Center and founder/CEO of (un)Boot Camp, tells Parentology he recommends other parents proceed with caution.
Just as he would question parents whose child wants to become a professional athlete or a television star, Dr. Grant says to consider whether children who find themselves in the spotlight get a chance to enjoy their childhood. “Right now, the money is really attractive, but Fortnight won’t last forever. At some point, will he look back and wonder, ‘Did I do everything I needed to do to be able to have a life?’”
And what of concerns that video gaming can have negative effects on developing brains? Dr. Hardik Soni tells Parentology a lot of that thinking is outdated. “For decades video games have been considered harmful for children, but many studies debunked those claims.” Dr. Soni points to two recent studies – one in the journal Frontiers and one in JAMA Surgery – that show clear benefits from playing video games in moderation.
Proving that just like many other parenting decisions, whether or not you let your kid follow their dreams of becoming a famous live-streamer comes down to what you think is best for you and your family. While there are clear benefits, like a $200,000 payday, you should consider what the long term impacts will be for your famous gamer.
A Misfit Story: Sceptic | How a 14-Year-Old Became a Fortnite King
Dr. Don Grant, MA, MFA, CCDC, Ph.D., Executive Director; RESOLUTIONS TEEN CENTER, Founder / CEO; (un)BOOT CAMP
Dr. Hardik Soni’s articles:
Frontiers in Human Neuroscience