Call of Duty: 2023 Parent Guide

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June 21, 2022

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This Call of Duty guide will help parents learn:

  • What is Call of Duty and why students want to play it?
  • The dangers of playing Call of Duty
  • What parents can do if their student wants to play Call of Duty

Learn why parents and educators should care about Call of Duty

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Table of Contents

Call of Duty is one of the most popular video game franchises of all time with more than 250 million players worldwide (Source: Statista). 

There are multiple versions of this graphically violent video game with a new game being released almost every year.  Parents need to know this game can be highly addictive for users and contains extreme violence and vulgar language.

Call of Duty parent video

What you'll learn in this video lesson

(Click on the three lines or a blue dot in video progress bar to skip to a chapter)

  1. What is Call of Duty?
  2. Call of Duty statistics
  3. Family tips for Call of Dut

What is Call of Duty?

  • Call of Duty is a franchise of first-person shooter video games set in World War II, Cold War, futuristic worlds, and outer space scenarios
  • As of April 2021, the Call of Duty (CoD) series has generated more than 400 million lifetime unit sales, making it one of the bestselling and top grossing video game franchises worldwide (Source: Statista
  • There is a voice chat feature when connected online which allows players to communicate with other players and strangers around the world
  • The games depict violent killing in detail showing a lot of blood and gore
  • Games include: 
  • ~Call of Duty: Mobile
  • ~Modern Warfare II
  • ~Vanguard
  • ~Black Ops Cold War
  • ~Warzone
  • The Call of Duty series can be played on PC, PlayStation, Xbox, iOS, and Android devices
  • Games are rated by the ESRB as Mature 17+ for blood, strong language, violence, use of drugs and warns that users can make in-game purchases and users interact with other users

What is Call of Duty Mobile?

  • Call of Duty Mobile is a free version of the popular PC/console video game, Call of Duty, that is available on iOS or Android devices
  • Call of Duty Mobile received more than 35 million downloads within three days of its release, surpassed 100 million downloads after one week, and continues to grow
  • Battle Royale mode allows 100 players to parachute onto a map and the last person standing wins the match
  • Text and voice chat are available, which means users who play are communicating with strangers unless they turn off the chat feature
  • There are notification settings that can alert players when when exciting events or new content are taking place in the game which we recommend turning off
  • The app is funded by micro-transactions, and purchases can add up quickly, so it’s important to limit your student's spending if you allow them to play mobile games

Parent & educator training video - Call of Duty Mobile

Violence is a key focus, and shows a fair amount of blood splatter and other graphic violence on screen. [Call of Duty Mobile] includes an option for online voice chat between teammates, which could expose younger players to potentially offensive or toxic conversations and language.

Common Sense Media

Call of Duty in the news

People who frequently play violent video games like Call of Duty show neural desensitization to painful images, according to study
A brain imaging study published in the journal Psychology of Popular Media provides evidence that violent video games can lead to a desensitization to painful images, suggesting a reduced empathy for pain.

PsyPost

Video game anxiety is real. here's how to manage it Even games that used to be soothing can trigger negative feelings when you fail to level up, or when you feel like you've let down your team
Game developers want players engaged for as long and as intently as possible,” says Sobin, The Nerd Therapist. The “dopamine-hits'' are what make you feel accomplished and what keeps you playing. So the same dopamine hits you get from brain rewards can also keep you playing the game.

Wired

"Gaming disorder" is considered a mental health condition

  • The World Health Organization recognizes gaming disorder as a mental health condition (Source: World Health Organization)
  • People with gaming disorder may have trouble controlling the amount of time that they spend playing video games

is 'gaming disorder' an illness? WHO says yes, adding it to its list of diseases
The description [of Gaming Disorder] is of someone with an inability to stop playing even though it interferes with other areas of one's life, such as family relationships, school, work, and sleep. And, these problems would typically continue for at least one year.

NPR

Study shows adolescents who play games like Call of Duty are more likely to exhibit physical aggression

USA Today Study confirms link between violent video games and physical aggression
The analysis of 24 studies from countries including the U.S., Canada, Germany and Japan found those who played violent games such as ‘Grand Theft Auto,’ ‘Call of Duty’ and ‘Manhunt’ were more likely to exhibit behavior such as being sent to the principal's office for fighting or hitting a non-family member.

USA Today

Why should parents care about Call of Duty?

  • Call of Duty is incredibly popular and even if you don't have it in your house, your students might be exposed to it at friends houses or other places outside your home
  • Battle Royale mode is like a chat room; your student can voice or text chat with 99 strangers all at once
  • When playing video games while wearing a headset, your student can feel like they are a million miles away - even if you’re in the same room
  • Users frequently hear profanity or bullying when they play games with online user interaction like Call of Duty 
  • Child predators will often play games and connect with your student in games like Call of Duty, then invite your student into other discussion apps to "keep in touch," which can lead to many dangerous situations
  • This game is designed to be addictive because the more a player plays the game, the more characters, weapons, outfits, and pieces of gear they unlock
  • Students don't only like playing the games online, but often spend additional time watching others play the games or engage with other players on other apps/websites like Discord and Twitch

What can parents do?

  • Before giving your student access to a new game, review the ESRB rating, download the game and spend some time using it for yourself, then determine if the game is safe for your family
  • ~Ask your student to teach you about the game and to frequently show you what they enjoy about playing it to help you understand their interests and the dangers
  • ~Engage with your students about their progress and ask what skills they used to accomplish each achievement
  • Dialogue with your student about why they want to play Call of Duty and research some alternative games that are less violent
  • If you determine it’s safe for your student to play Call of Duty, work together with your student to set an amount of time to play before they start playing
  • ~Consider using a visual timer, like an egg timer or phone timer, to track how much time your child has left to play
  • Include time students spend on social media talking about the game or watching others play (Learn more about these popular gaming social media apps: Discord and Twitch)
  • Disable/mute voice chat in the game and enable Graphic Content and Profanity in Text Chat in the Content Filters options of many of the Call of Duty games
  • Discuss the difference between virtual violence and real life
  • Encourage students to not interact with strangers in live play
  • ~Teach and remind students to never share personal information, including other social media accounts or email addresses with strangers online or in games
  • Remind students they can come to you, or another trusted adult to talk if they ever feel uncomfortable on Call of Duty (even if a stranger threatens them to not tell you)
  • Monitor your students for gaming disorder warning signs:
  • ~Impaired control over gaming (e.g. onset, frequency, intensity, duration)
  • ~Increasing priority given to gaming to the extent that gaming takes precedence over other life interests and daily activities
  • ~Continuation or escalation of gaming despite the occurrence of negative consequences
  • If your student is experiencing behavior that concerns you after playing video games, consider contacting the school counselor, your pediatrician, or a private therapist for help

Conclusion

Call of Duty is one of the most popular video games in the world.  However, we list Call of Duty in the Smart Social Red Zone as a game that we don’t recommend for tweens and teens because of the easy access to live contact with strangers. Supervision is strongly suggested for Red Zone apps, or find an alternative game in the Green or Yellow zones. If you decide to let your family play Call of Duty, we highly recommend that you monitor them, turn off chat features, and agree to a set time limit.

Additional resources

Violent Video Games: What Parents, Educators, and Students Need to Know VIP course preview

View our VIP course "Violent Video Games: What Parents, Educators, & Students Need to Know"


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