By: Sarah White
Warning: This article contains language that may not be suitable for younger readers
Call of Duty, for me is just mindless, senseless fun. I like playing multiplayer because it’s always evolving and changing. There’s lots of cool stuff you can unlock by levelling up or completing challenges. Despite the simplistic gameplay of Call of Duty, I have pretty complex thoughts about it – or at least the affect it has on its target population.
The violence that stems from the Call of Duty series is not bred from the in-game violence or content, but rather the online players themselves. The attitude that many crass and aggressive players have while talking on the mic during lobby’s or the few seconds where their audio cuts in when you kill them is often extremely negative and unnecessarily abrasive. Scarily so.
Games at their core are meant to be FUN. The fundamentals of modern gaming are built on the concept of people: kids, adolescents, and adults enjoying themselves. Then there are the people that call other players derogatory terms or when they’re really mad, some of other awful expressions are used such as “go kill yourself”. These people are not the people that should be the standard of the online gaming community as their behavior can be dangerous. There are many younger gamers who are vulnerable to these ideas. They may be discouraged from what should be a fun game due to antagonistic and negative attitudes from other players online. Worse still, they might begin to think that the name calling and bullying of others is acceptable behavior.
The amount of gore featured in the Call of Duty series isn’t comparable to the violence that stems from online players because of the social aspect. Video games are like films and we are expected to watch films that are appropriate for our age, and furthermore such films are acts of fiction. What these films don’t feature is this online bullying aspect, which is far from fiction.
Every day kids, younger and younger, are swearing and name calling and throwing hurtful words as I mentioned before around without care. They’ve learned that “fag” is synonymous to being a loser and that “gay” just means stupid. The potential influence that these derogatory terms have on others is devastating. They are homophobic in nature and can also have a negative impact on the player.
There is not much we can do on this front either, besides educate ourselves and kids on appropriate behaviours online. There’s no way to sensor these other players when playing online besides muting their mics which can be tedious and troublesome–I always do it but it doesn’t mean that most people do, plus it negates the social aspect of these multiplayer lobbies. Reporting other players, whether its for hacking or language, often takes long to process or no action is taken at all. So no, I don’t think video games like Call of Duty are what is shaping the violent attitudes in children – I think it’s the handful of irresponsible players who are negatively shaping the future and minds of young gamers with their toxic attitudes.