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.
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.