With over 100 million monthly players, the Call of Duty franchise is a behemoth of the gaming industry. It is available for both video games consoles and gaming PCs.
With every release, it proves to be a very sought after game among gamers of all ages. Despite its PEGI 18 age rating, a fair chunk of its player base comes from children and teenagers.
A Parents Guide to Call of Duty
So what dangers does it pose for this demographic? Known for its high-octane, violent style, is it really a game you want your child to play? It’s certainly worth keeping an eye on how they engage with the game.
Is your child an avid Call of Duty player? Or are they nagging you to let them play? Here’s everything you need to know with the Call of Duty parents’ guide.
Call of Duty is a first-person shooter (FPS) – a gun-centric video game experienced through the eyes of the player’s character. While not all FPS games are violent, Call of Duty’s war-time setting means the games fall under that description.
One reason why the violence in Call of Duty is so prevalent is down to how realistic it is. The campaigns are often centred on a truly authentic narrative – whether it’s World War Two, the Cold War or Modern Warfare.
Instalments of the franchise have seen terrorist attacks in some of the world’s major cities such as London and Paris, and brutal killings of lead characters.
As you’d expect from a war-based video game, Call of Duty is full of blood and gore. Explosions will see limbs flying in the air, and bullet hits cause a splatter of blood across the screen.
Every Call of Duty game contains strong language. There’s not a single swear word in the book that won’t be uttered (or screamed) by the in-game characters. It’s worth considering if you’re okay having your child exposed to such profanity.
Call of Duty ventured into the world of the undead back in 2008 with its Zombies mode, and it has been a prominent feature ever since. The game mode sees the player, often accompanied by up to three teammates, fight off against an endless horde of zombies.
It often takes place in areas that you may associate with a horror film – a cabin in the middle of nowhere, an abandoned theatre, a research facility. This setting, combined with the classic blood and gore, may provide an experience too scary for your child.
Microtransactions (or MTX) is a business model that has become increasingly popular among video game publishers. They are in-game purchases that a player can make to enhance their experience. This could be by unlocking a character or weapon that is behind a paywall.
Introduced in 2018, microtransactions are part of Call of Duty’s season pass. Players can also purchase packs to obtain cosmetic items to tailor the look of their character. In the past, the game has drawn criticism for overpricing items that provide very little benefit to the player.
If your debit or credit card is stored on your child’s console or PC, then you must keep an eye on their spending. There have been stories of children spending thousands of pounds of their parent’s money on video games.
The online community in Call of Duty can be a somewhat unforgiving place for players. While it’s always more fun for children to play with their friends as opposed to on their own, they have to be careful who they talk to. Online lobbies can be a dangerous play for younger players.
Gamers have a habit of ‘trash-talking’ their competitors and the language that is thrown around can be quite extreme. Cyberbullying is another huge risk to children entering online lobbies leading to your child experiencing more stress and anger.
Luckily, here you do have the control that mitigates these situations. You can set your own privacy controls that protect personal information and prevent any online abuse.
As is the case with any video game with online capabilities, Call of Duty can be a dangerous game for children. Even with the violent aspects that come with the game’s campaign and Zombies mode, the true threat comes from microtransactions and online lobbies.
If you are going to allow your child time to play the game then it’s down to you to monitor how they get on. With the right limitations on privacy and spending, your child can safely enjoy Call of Duty.
Another thing you must keep an eye on is how much time your child plays video games – having the right balance between gaming and the outside world is crucial.
Oliver Griffiths has a passion for film, video games and technology. He can be found at Tillison Consulting running a number of clients digital marketing campaigns across all sectors and platforms.