Violent Video Games (2021): What Parents, Educators, & Students Need to Know

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Violent Video Games (2021): What Parents, Educators, & Students Need to Know

July 17, 2021

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Violent video games are dangerous for more reasons than for just the violent acts students are exposed to on the screen. Multi-player games like Fortnite, Overwatch, and Call of Duty encourage players to interact with other players in "live" games. What others say and share in live communications can have a serious impact on students' mental health and well being.

Navigating Fornite, Overwatch, Call of Duty, & Other Violent Video Games VIP Course preview

Why should parents care about Fortnite?

Screenhot of Fortnite Battle Royale with characters
  • Fortnite is incredibly popular with students
  • The developers add new features and play modes every week to entice people to play more
  • Games can last up to 20 minutes and cannot be paused
  • The games are designed to keep players coming back, which can be difficult for teens and tweens who haven’t yet developed a healthy relationship with screen time
  • Students can chat with strangers while playing and can come across profanity or inappropriate language
  • Upgrades can add up. In addition to purchasing Premium Battle Passes, players can also buy 3rd party add-ons to make gameplay easier or to get certain upgrades
  • Some of these 3rd party upgrades have been reported as being malicious in nature
  • Hackers have targeted Fortnite accounts and spent hundred of dollars on in-game purchases

Why should parents care about Overwatch?

  • Overwatch only works if players are matched onto teams with other real people
  • This means that your child will be exposed to strangers in every game if they want to play Overwatch
  • Playing with strangers is a huge red flag that a game can be dangerous
  • When your kids play multiplayer games while wearing headsets, they’re a million miles away - even if you’re sitting in the same room as them
  • Students who chat on multiplayer games can come across inappropriate language and bullying behavior
  • In the past, the developers have been criticized for over-sexualizing characters and promoting cultural stereotypes
  • There are reports of the community becoming increasingly toxic and negative
  • Overwatch is incredibly popular and is considered “one of the best games of all time” by critics

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This webinar is a very helpful eye-opener on the apps that are popular with my students.

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Green Zone

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Green Zone.
We believe this app is a STARTING POINT for your student, but that you must monitor your student on every app they are on. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Gray Zone

Parents and Teachers: Please note this app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Gray Zone.
Parents should participate in these apps with students to keep them safe.
Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Red Zone

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed in the SmartSocial.com Red Zone. We believe this app is not safe for students to use without adult supervision. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Dangerous Social media challenges

Parents and Teachers: This app is listed as a Dangerous Social Media Challenge. Knowing about social media challenges before your teen does can help you keep them safe before an incident occurs. Join our weekly newsletter to learn about the 100+ App Reviews at SmartSocial.com

Table of Contents

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Parent training video

What we're covering in this video:

  • Video game industry basics
  • Addiction & red flags
  • What parents need to know about:
  • Fortnite
  • Overwatch  
  • Call of Duty
  • How to set limitations
  • Start a dialog with your student

Why should parents care about Fortnite?

Screenhot of Fortnite Battle Royale with characters
  • Fortnite is incredibly popular with students
  • The developers add new features and play modes every week to entice people to play more
  • Games can last up to 20 minutes and cannot be paused
  • The games are designed to keep players coming back, which can be difficult for teens and tweens who haven’t yet developed a healthy relationship with screen time
  • Students can chat with strangers while playing and can come across profanity or inappropriate language
  • Upgrades can add up. In addition to purchasing Premium Battle Passes, players can also buy 3rd party add-ons to make gameplay easier or to get certain upgrades
  • Some of these 3rd party upgrades have been reported as being malicious in nature
  • Hackers have targeted Fortnite accounts and spent hundred of dollars on in-game purchases

Why should parents care about Call of Duty?

  • 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 with a headset on, your child can be a million miles away - even if you’re in the same room
  • Children can hear profanity or bullying when they play games like Call of Duty Mobile in Battle Royale mode
  • This game can encourage addictive behaviors because the more a player plays the game, the more characters, weapons, outfits, and pieces of gear they unlock

What can parents do about students playing violent video games?

  • Always monitor your kids during game time - it’s even better when parents play the game with their children
  • Keep gaming consoles in the living room so you can supervise game time
  • Say no to headsets. Headsets leave students vulnerable to connecting with strangers
  • Gaming disorder is considered a mental health condition. Look out for any warning signs that your child is addicted to video games:
  • Impaired control over gaming (e.g. onset, frequency, intensity, duration, termination, context)
  • 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

Student training video

What we're covering in this video:

10 examples from news clips around the world with real-life examples of the impact of violent video games

Parent & student training video

What we're covering in this video:

  • Then vs. now (Mario Bros vs. Fortnite)
  • Tips on how to manage time
  • Addiction & gaming disorder
  • Fortnite
  • Overwatch
  • Call of Duty
  • 5 ways families can be safer on online games

How to stay safe while playing violent video games

  • Parents: Before giving your student access to an app, download it, spend some time using it, then determine if the app is safe for your family
  • If you determine it’s safe for your student to download a violent video game, consider using a visual timer, like an egg timer or phone timer, to track how much time your child has left to play
  • Monitor your student and yourself 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
  • Students: If you ever feel uncomfortable, talk with a trusted adult about what you have seen or heard or have done to help you
  • Talk about who it is appropriate to communicate with (voice or text) in live games and have a plan of what to do if students are asked to move their discussion to a different forum (like Snapchat or Discord) with a stranger

Additional resources about violent video games

What do students love about Fortnite? (student interview video)


Fortnite: What Parents Need to Know

Overwatch Game: what Parents Need to Know

Call of Duty: Is it Safe?

Conclusion

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