Personal Finance

How to Limit Fortnite Play Time on PS4, Xbox, PC, iPhone and iPad - without Tears

If your child plays Fortnite, here are instructions for limiting Fortnite play time on a PS4, Xbox and PC, plus our top tip for keeping the peace in your household when your child's play time ends.

If you're reading this, you probably have a school-age child gripped by Fortnite mania. You are not alone. To help the thousands of parents struggling with this recent obsession, we'll explain our top tip to eradicate any complaining or whingeing when play time's up. Plus, we've assembled instructions on how to automatically limit Fortnite play time on the PS4, Xbox and Windows PCs, plus capability through the new iOS 12 for iPads and iPhones.

When Fortnite Becomes a Point of Stress—the Power of 15 Minutes

The ability to set time limits on gaming systems is fantastic for parents, eliminating the need to strictly monitor your child's gaming time. But most parents still suffer with an unhappy child when game time is inevitably up, often bringing a successful Fortnite round to an unceremonious, early end mid game. And we hate to say it, but the kids have a point.

Fortnite is a survival game. Success is measured by how long your child's character stays alive, so a winning game is by nature a longer game. And a longer game has higher odds of overrunning any play time limits. When a child's winning Fortnite round is brought to an abrupt end, the flowing adrenaline and high passions can lead to a very unhappy child (and parent). This is especially the case when children spend long periods at home (e.g., summer holidays, Christmas, Easter, half terms or even Coronavirus lockdown) and they aren't busy with alternative activities.

To get around this problem, hand over some control to your child. Specifically, set their play time limits to be 15 minutes longer than the play time you have agreed with your child. This extra 15 minutes is for "emergencies" only, to be used at your child's discretion, and is called Emergency Time. Let them utilise this grace period to finish any winning games started during their "regular" play time.

For example, if you've agreed they can play for 45 minutes on a Friday, set the play time limit on the gaming console to be 1 hour—an extra 15 minutes. Why? The 15 minutes is their buffer, their Emergency Time. Time to be used if a game started during regular play time (during the 45 minutes in our example) turns out spectacularly and they're headed towards a personal best when their hour is up. Giving your child this power means they can (always) finish a great round. The extra fifteen minutes of occasional use won't melt their brains, but will give them freedom and control. That way, there will be no complaining that a game ended early and unfairly for them.

In an ideal world, a child wouldn't start a new game during the 15-minute Emergency Time—but we know they will, cheeky monkeys. That's ok, too, because it's their choice and their responsibility if they are logged out later mid game. Starting a last game during Emergency Time knowing they can't finish with a win is a risk they are free to take—work out or not.

Why is 15 minutes the magic number? In our household, it seems that games can last anywhere from 3 minutes (a quick loss) up to 20 minutes (a win!), so a 15 minute extension should reasonably see your child through any winning game that was started during their regular play time. Just remind them that the notifications that pop to remind them of remaining play time include their Emergency Time—they'll have to track the time progress to know when they enter that last 15 minutes of extra time, which is also a good thing.

3 Steps to Establishing Gaming Limits with Emergency Time

  • 1. Set up play time restrictions (directions below) on your devices
  • 2. Give each child an extra 15 minutes per day of Emergency Time
  • 3. Explain this 15-minute Emergency Time is the chance to complete successful rounds started during regular play time

Remember that screen time counts down when a child is signed in, so if they’re not actively using their console, have them sign out. Remind them of this, too, if kids are taking turns playing. At the end of play, each child needs to log out of their respective account or their sibling will end up depleting their play time.

Restricting Play Time Limits for Fortnite

Broadly speaking, to set Fortnite game time limits you'll first need to create a password-protected parent account and a separate account for each child on your system, if you haven't already done so. (If your child is new to gaming, we'd recommend setting up individual child accounts ASAP. Don't make the mistake of having your child play on your account for now, because they'll lose all game progress and start from scratch if you later set up individual child accounts.) Once individual child accounts are established, you can set playtime limits through Settings. Play time restrictions can be customised to:

  • Specific days of the week (e.g., Saturdays)
  • A time window for play on each day (e.g., 8 am to 8 pm on Saturdays)
  • A limit to the number of gaming hours (e.g., up to 2 hours, anytime between 8 am and 8 pm on Saturdays)

Play Time Limits for iPad and iPhone

By downloading the latest iOS 12 mobile operating system, Apple enables you to limit your child's screen time through the new Screen Time feature in Settings, shown in the red circle below.

Photo of iPhone Screen Time

While you can't limit gaming time specifically, you can limit their overall screen time spent on Apple mobile devices using the following directions.

How to Set Screen Time Limits for iPad and iPhone
1. [Settings] > [Screen Time] > [App Limits]
2. Add Limit
3. Select "Games" and Click "Add"
4. Set the time limit as you wish, tapping "Customize Days" if you want to tailor the time limits for each day of the week
5. When finished, back out using "< App Limits" at the top left of the screen

Those wanting to turn off access to Fortnite altogether or temporarily on your child's iPhone or iPad can do so through Restrictions, but you'll need to actively turn access on and off to allow your child to play at times. Note: these are not "time restrictions" but either allow access to games like Fortnite or block them altogether based on their age rating. As Fortnite is a 12+ games, blocking access to apps that are 12+ effectively blocks Fortnite.

How to Set Restrictions for iPad and iPhone
1. [Settings] > [Screen Time] > [Content & Privacy Restrictions]
2. Toggle "Content & Privacy Restrictions" to on
3. Tap "Content Restrictions"
4. Tap "Apps"
5. Tap on "12+" to block access to Fortnite (and all other 12+ games)

Play Time Limits for Fortnite: PS4

On the PS4, parents can use the new Play Time Management feature to customise their child's gaming time limits. Not only can you set maximum gaming times and set acceptable play time windows (e.g., not after 8 pm or not before 6 am for those early risers), but you can also choose what should happen when a child's play time is up—the PS4 can either log them out immediately (the game ends abruptly without saving but with warning notifications 30 minutes, 15 minutes, 10 minutes and 5 minutes before the end of Play Time) or just notify you child that their time is finished (but they can keep playing). Here is a recap of the main functions for setting play time limits on the PS4:

Enable/Disable Play Time Restrictions‘Restrict’ or ‘Do Not Restrict’
Allocate Play Times for every day or specific days of the week
  • ‘Time Duration’ (e.g., 2 hours)
  • ‘Start Time’ (e.g., 4 pm)
  • ‘End Time’ (e.g., 8 pm)
Set an action for when Play Time ends‘Notify Family Manager’ or ‘Log Out’ child account

We recommend opting for "Log Out of PS4", because what's the point of simply notifying a child their time is up? Most will keep playing, leaving it up to you to still monitor your child's play time. And the whole point of setting time limits using the gaming console is to let the gaming console control play time instead of you having to do it—let the PS4 work for you by choosing the "Log Out" option, which will display coloured notifications at the top of the screen to let your child know they should save and quit. The "Log Out" options works best with the Emergency Time top tip for a peaceful Fortnite household discussed above.

How to Set PS4 Play Time Limits

How do you set gaming time limits for the PS4? It varies slightly depending on whether you're accessing the Play Time Management feature using the PS4 console, a web browser or the PlayStation App on a mobile device:

How to Set PS4 Play Time Limits via the PS4 Console
1. [Settings] > [Parental Controls/Family Management] > [Family Management]
2. Select the child for whom you wish to set Play Time controls
3. Set a [Time Zone]
4. Select [Play Time Settings]
5. Set your restrictions
6. Select [Save] to apply changes
How to Set PS4 Play Time Limits via a Web Browser (e.g., computer, tablet or phone)
1. Sign in to PS4 account management
2. Select [Account] > [Family Management] > [Go to Family Management]
3. Click the child account you would like to access
4. Click [Edit] by the Play Time restrictions you would like to set or change
5. Set your restrictions
6. Select [Save] to apply changes
How to Set PS4 Play Time Limits via the Playstation App
1. Open the PlayStation App on your mobile device and log in to your Family Manager Account
2. Tap PS icon at the bottom of the screen > [Settings] > [Account Information]
3. Tap [Menu icon] at the top left of your screen > [Family Management]
4. Tap the child account
5. Tap [Edit] by the Play Time restrictions you would like to set or change
6. Set your restrictions
7. Select [Save] to apply changes

PS4 vs. Xbox: How the PS4 gives you more options for setting play time/screen time limits The main difference in setting play time limits between the Xbox and PS4 is that with the PS4 you can set restrictions using a PS4 console, a web browser (on your computer, tablet or phone) or the Playstation App (on a mobile device like your tablet or phone); with the Xbox you can only set play time limits using your Microsoft Family Account on the Microsoft website via a web browser on your computer, phone or tablet. Below we explain the steps to restrict play time on both a PS4 and Xbox/Windows 10.

Play Time Limits for Fortnite: Xbox One/Windows 10

Microsoft enables you to limit your child's playtime through the Screen Time feature on the Xbox One. While Parental Controls (e.g., online safety and privacy settings) can be set through the Xbox console or your computer using the Microsoft Family Account, Screen Time can only be restricted through a web browser using your Microsoft Family Account (that is, you can't set play time limits on the Xbox console).

How to Set Xbox One/Windows 10 Play Time Limits

Like with the PS4, you can restrict gaming on the Xbox to a maximum number of hours per day (e.g., 1.5 hours) and certain times of the day (e.g., from 8 am until 8 pm) for each day of the week. Here are instructions for setting gaming time limits for the Xbox on your Microsoft Family Account using a browser on your computer, tablet or phone:

How to Set Xbox One/Windows 10 Play Time Limits via a Web Browser
1. Sign into your Microsoft Family Account at
2. Go to [Settings] > [All Settings] > [Account] > [Family]
3. Select child (if your child does not appear here as part of your Family, see the instructions in the next section)
4. Select [Screen time] (Note: If you want to use the same schedule for both the Xbox and PC, switch [Use one screen time schedule] from Off to On. If you’d rather have separate schedules, scroll down and switch on screen time for PC and Xbox One individually.)
5. Toggle “Set limits for when my child can use devices” to “On”
6. To set the maximum hours of play time per day (e.g., 2 hours), use the Daily Allowance drop-down menu next to each day of the week
7. To set the allowed play time window (e.g., 8 am to 8 pm), click the time bars to set the start and end time, then click [Add] (In order to set up a limit for multiple days at once, select [Set a time limit] once you've clicked on a time bar)

How to Add Child to Xbox One/Windows 10^

If your child does not appear in your Family, then you'll need to add them.

How to Add Your Child to Your Family Account
1. Press the [Xbox button] to open the guide
2. Select [Sign in] and select your account to sign in
3. Press the [Xbox button] to open the guide
4. Select [System] > [Settings]
5. Under [Account], select [Family]
6. Select [Add to family]
  • 7. If your child already has a Microsoft account on the Xbox One console then Select your child's profile and press the [A button] on your controller
  • or
  • 7. If your child already has a Microsoft account, but it is not on the Xbox One console then Select [Add New], Sign in using your child's Microsoft account email address and password, Select [Add to Family]
  • or
  • 7. If your child does not have a Microsoft account then Select [Add New], Press [B] on your controller, and then move the left stick down to select [Get a new account], follow the steps then select [Add to family]

Give Your Child Fair Warning

To give your child a proper heads up that their gaming time is counting down, you'll need to enable notifications.

How to Enable Xbox One/Windows 10 Notifications so Your Child Can Prepare
1. On your Xbox, press the [Xbox button] on the controller
2. Select [System] > [Settings] > [Preferences] > [Notifications] > [Xbox Notifications] > [System]
3. Make sure "System notifications on" is selected

Screen time counts down when a child is signed in, so if they’re not actively playing, make sure your child signs out of their account.

Final thoughts

We hope this 15-minute Emergency Time technique helps Fortnite become a source of joy in your home—when you're not at your wits' end listening to your child beg for more time or complain their winning round was logged out mid game, you can have a good laugh at their attempt at Orange Justice. You may even ask your child teach you how to Floss—family fun for all!

Erin Yurday

Erin Yurday is the Founder and Editor of NimbleFins. Prior to NimbleFins, she worked as an investment professional and as the finance expert in Stanford University's Graduate School of Business case writing team. Read more on LinkedIn.


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