Parents used to worry about their kids playing too many video games. Now, some parents are taking a different approach -- hiring coaches to help their children win more, according to a report by The Wall Street Journal's Sarah Needleman.
The combat game "Fortnite" has exploded in popularity over the past year, with more than 100 million players worldwide, including celebrities and professional gamers. The game is so pervasive that social pressure to be good at it is spurring some parents to pay an hourly rate to trainers to help their children.
"There's pressure not to just play it but to be really good at it," said mother Ally Hicks. "You can imagine what that was like for [my son] at school."
This is a real thing?
Yes, some parents are paying $10 and $20 per hour for their children to take "Fortnite" lessons so that their children can be more competitive with their friends, the same way some parents pay for sports training or music lessons.
"I want them to excel at what they enjoy," said Euan Robertson, whose 10- and 12-year old sons play the game.
Why would they do this?
For some parents, it's just about helping their kids fit in. Other parents, like JD Giles, are participating in the lessons with their children, using it as a way to bond with the younger generation.
"Within one week, I actually got a solo win," Giles told The Wall Street Journal. "The other dads I play with congratulated me. I earned a little credibility with my son and his friends -- and my wife and daughter made fun of me."
Still, other parents have even higher ambitions for their young gamers, with hopes for future eSports scholarships or professional winnings. Epic Games, the company behind "Fortnite," has pledged $100 million in tournament prizes, and some colleges have varsity gaming teams.
Robertson said he thinks investing in "Fortnite" is a safer alternative to sports.
"There isn't any inherent risk," Robertson said. "They're not going to break a leg playing video games."