Call of Duty is one of the world’s most successful first-person shooter games, which is also available as a free mobile version for cell phones. In it, you fight as a soldier against others or in a virtual war against aliens at breakneck speed. The goal is to destroy the enemies by force of arms, i.e. to shoot them.
The player slips into the role of a soldier and finds himself in different, historical or invented war theaters. There he engages in constant gun battles with enemies, as many of whom as possible must be killed. Multiplayer mode is played on the network against and with other people.
Since 2003 there has been a new part of the game series almost every year. There are more and more functions or other worlds as time goes on. However, the games do not build on each other. The most popular games in the series include “Black Ops”, “Ghosts” and “Modern Warfare”.
The fascination – regardless of whether the gamer is a teenager or an adult – is comparable to watching an action movie, except that the gamers themselves slip into the role of a soldier and fight against others. At the same time, the game looks very realistic and at the same time it is a simulation. This way of fighting is unimaginable for most gamers in reality.
Especially exciting are the challenges in the fight against others.
Young people – especially boys – are particularly attracted to games that are not yet designed for their age. They want to test themselves and try out or prove themselves to their peers by playing such games or pretending to do so. This does not always correspond to the truth!
Gun violence, poison gas and drone attacks, highly visible killing and bloodbaths are all part of the game. Due to its violent plot and atmosphere, the game is not suitable for children and teenagers. Nevertheless, it is also played by under-18s. Time and again, the effects of computer games like Call of Duty are discussed. The first-person shooter perspective is problematic, whereby events are shown from the character’s point of view. Whether this triggers a higher level of aggression due to a stronger identification with the character has not yet been scientifically confirmed.
The victim’s perspective or the consequences for society of a war are not addressed at any point in the game. Nevertheless, it is not a realistic war simulation.
The game is intended for adults 18 years and older. The publisher is Activision, one of the world’s largest games companies, headquartered in the USA. According to its terms of service, guardians can consent to an Activision account if their child is over the age of 13 and under the age of 18. However, the age classification of the USK that applies in Germany is not taken into account.
As a parent, you can decide whether or not to let your child play games that are not appropriate for their age according to the USK. You can best assess whether he or she can distinguish virtual violence from real violence and whether the depictions of war can have a frightening effect on your child. Nevertheless, you should keep in mind that the age restrictions are not without reason. A game that is not suitable for minors should not be played by significantly younger children. On sites like spielbar.de or NRW-Spieleratgeber you can also read pedagogical assessments of different games in German.
Always stay in conversation with your child so that you know what they are playing and how they are using games. Also ask what your child is watching on YouTube. There may be videos about computer games – so-called Let’s Plays – that do not have a USK youth rating.
It’s not always true when kids tell you about friends who are supposedly allowed to play first-person shooters like Call of Duty. Exchange ideas with other parents about this. You must decide for yourself and your family what is best for them.
By the way, you can also lock Call of Duty via the family sharing feature or directly in the settings on your child’s smartphone, such as screen time on Apple devices.