Call of Duty: Warzone, the popular Battle Royale-style video game, has released one of its biggest updates. Since its inception the game has reached a staggering 100 million online players.

Our team have been busy testing the game to bring you the latest updates and explain how you can make the game safer for the children and young people in your care.

The game has a PEGI rating of 18+. You therefore need to make a judgement about whether you are happy for your child to play it.

What has changed with the latest update?

A New Map

Warzone is an online game played on a series of ‘maps’ that gamers become familiar with as they play through each season. The most recent map, titled “Verdansk 84, introduces significant changes in style. Because this new map is likely to encourage renewed interest in the game, young people are likely to spend more time playing so they can master the new features. They may also spend more time online researching tips and tricks shared by other players or streamers to help give them an advantage. Platforms Twitch and Discord are popular for sharing gaming strategies. 

  • Top TipTake your time to learn more about the game. Check out reviews and do your own online research. Try and get your child to teach you how to play so that you can have better conversations with them about setting healthy boundaries on screen time and gameplay.

New Weapons

Players use a variety of weapons to play the game, which can be bought using COD Points found by exploring new areas of the game during gameplay or purchased via credit card. With a new series comes the availability of new weapons and the incentive to play longer to build points or to spend more to buy them.  

  • Top Tip Help the children in your care understand the importance of setting healthy limits on ingame spending. You should restrict in-app purchases on all devices or use set amounts to stop impulse spending and the dreaded ‘bill shock.  

The Hunt for Adler

Warzone has maintained its tradition of hosting limited-time seasonal events, with its most recent sending players on a covert mission to recover Russell Adler.  Adler is a popular non-playable character within the COD world. He is being held captive in VerdanskSuccessful completion of these limited missions provides players with in-game rewards. 

Due to the time limited nature of these eventsgamers often feel the need to spend more time playing to complete the mission before it is no longer available. This sense of urgency may induce pressure or stress. This can be exacerbated by comments from other players; the desire to access hard to obtain ingame gear or by the frustration that comes from persistent failure. 

  • Top TipCheck in every now and again, without interrupting the game 😉  Listen to the excitement and frustration of the young people in your careTalk it through with them and ask what their strategy is to get passed the point they are at.  If they are upset, talk about how you too get frustrated about some things (use this as a teachable moment by reflecting on your experience).  Acknowledge their frustration and remind them that the games are meant to be played for fun.

What are the risks?

The biggest safeguarding risk posed by COD: Warzone is its Live User Interaction. Squads can be made up of friends or random players from all over the world. Because of the social nature of the game, any player can be contacted via chat or voice communication by another player.

The danger is enhanced because players will have an immediate mutual interest (the game) and this makes building a rapport much easier. This rapport can feel like an actual friendship, which can lead to young people sharing their social media usernames on popular platforms like Snapchat, Kik and Facebook and accepting friend request from people they don’t really know.

Because the game is rated at 18+, young people may lie about their age when signing up. If they provide their true date of birth the software will stop them from getting access. If they simply change the date of birth on the device they are using, they will still be blocked as the software will have logged the device ID. Young people get around this by clearing the cache (the short-term memory) on the device.

The game does not look for further age verification. Any unfiltered gameplay will include extreme violence, bloodshed, foul language, and mature themes. With screen time skyrocketing for young people during the pandemic, there is a risk that players may develop compulsive playing habits with the game.

What can I do?

Make sure young people take time out from screens; walking, going to the park chatting (with you, if you’re lucky!) or reading an actual book are good alternatives.

It is important to remind any child or young person in your care of the dangers in online communication with strangers. They should never share personal information with anyone they don’t actually know and should report or block players who harass or upset them in any way.  

  • Chat about what happens in the game with the children in your care 

  • Show young people in your care how to turn off voice chat to combat online bullying or inappropriate interest.
  • Turn on the profanity filter. This will remove blood, gore, and dead bodies from the game.

  • Play Call of Duty: Warzone yourself! It is free, and will help you better understand how it’s being played by those in your care.

For more information on how to deal with online gaming services and other safeguarding tips, check out Our Online Safety Centre.  

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