Fortnite: Battle Royale has taken the world by storm and developers, Epic, have received plaudits for the game and their ongoing engagement with the community.

But there remains concern among parents, particularly surrounding chat features and microtransactions, after new findings from Net Aware were published.

The research, based on reviews by children and parents of the most popular apps, sites and games, revealed that one in four children have been contacted online by a stranger.

Battle Royale is the free-to-play, multiplayer mode of overarching game Fortnite, and has seen a huge increase in uptake since its release as an app, alongside its already popular Xbox One, PS4 and PC forms.

The survival game pits 100 players against each other in a battle to the death, with the boundaries of play shrinking as game-time advances which creates a tense, but exciting and highly addictive atmosphere.

In its basic mode, players can take part on their own, as a duo or with a squad of four and it is this social aspect that is causing some parents worry as confusion remains around who exactly children are engaging with.

Of course, players can play in a “squad” with friends but there is an option to “fill” a squad with random gamers and voice chat is automatically enabled for the players to communicate.

One Bradford parent said about their son: “As I understand it, with the settings he has, he can’t chat to anybody - only his friends?

“I think the problem with it is that your average parent doesn’t know enough about it.”

Gaming expert Andy Robertson, whose YouTube channel FamilyGamerTV looks at games from a parent's point of view, agrees: "Fortnite blindsides parents, because the kids don’t need permission to buy it as it’s free to download, so conversations aren’t immediately struck up about the game and parents can’t anticipate – they weren’t expecting it.”

But Andy lets his own son play, saying it has helped him build friendships: “It’s a key way that children and teens have a social network outside of school."

For many, the beauty of the game is the ability to meet new people and create a bond through strategy and gameplay. This is highlighted in several viral videos that show complete strangers sharing heartfelt moments in game via the use of emotes.

Andy has produced a video explaining the guide to parents which you can view below. 

Laura Randall, NSPCC’s associate head of child safety online, said “Apps, sites, and games such as Fortnite: Battle Royale can be great opportunities for young people to play and engage online.

“However in light of emerging concerns about the risks children could be exposed to, we are urging parents to be aware of Fortnite’s features. It’s vital parents have regular conversations with their children about the games they are playing, and how to stay safe online.”

The NSPCC advises that users can disable voice chat via the settings menu.

Like many games of this type, microtransactions - whereby players can pay money for items in the game - form part of Fortnite’s make-up. These offer no specific advantage when playing but do allow gamers to customise their character and provide the opportunity for expression.

But some parents in Bradford have fallen foul of the ease of purchasing items.

One parent was vigilant enough to remove PayPal details from her son’s account, so he couldn’t accidentally purchase anything. But another was only alerted after her son managed to rack up a bill for data calls via the mobile app version.

She said: “Just like Rocket League, this new game is asking kids to spend their pocket money, upgrading their characters.”

The key thing for parents is to educate themselves about the games their children play. Andy Robertson said: “The temptation is to ban the game, but this is just a short term solution and it’s better to have proper communication and setup a safe environment for gaming."