Child Development Expert: Playable Female Characters In Call Of Duty Will Harm Girls Just As It Has A Generation Of Boys

from the the-REAL-scare-quotes dept

The Call of Duty series is finally giving players the option to play through the campaign mode as a female soldier. The nod towards the existence of female game fans is every bit as obligatory as the game's campaign mode, but now the game's developers are being accused of pushing girls towards a future as emotionless, jaded killbots. You know, the way it has millions of young men over the past decade.

Someone calling herself a "child development expert" had this to say about Black Ops 3 (as quoted by the Daily Mail, a publication that calls itself a "journalistic endeavour"). [h/t Lizzy Finnegan]

The controversial video game series Call of Duty has been accused of encouraging young women to be more violent by introducing its first female soldiers.

Players of Call of Duty Black Ops 3 kill opponents with an array of weapons or even bare hands. Sue Palmer, a child development expert, said of the 18-rated game: "It will have the same impact on girls as it will have in any child. The evidence is that it will make them more cold and reckless or more withdrawn and fearful."
Not pictured: outcomes not linked to antisocial behavior, evidence backing up Palmer's claims, any other "accusations" other than Palmer's.

Palmer is the kind of "expert" the Daily Mail calls on when it wants to portray video games as the downfall of civilization.

Here's an insta-classic by the Daily Mail titled "Chilling truth about the video games your children got for Christmas," which contains this hilariously terrible picture caption.

If you can't see the embed, the caption says:
Violent: Pay Day 2 includes point-blank shooting not unlike the Kenyan Mall massacre in September
The 2013 article contains a quote from Sue Palmer, who at this point was a mere "educationalist." If you're a fan of anecdotal evidence, Palmer has you covered.
Educationalist Sue Palmer, author of Toxic Childhood, says: ‘One reception teacher told me how, on the day a new edition of Grand Theft Auto was released, one father arrived to pick up his five-year-old son brandishing a copy, and they went joyfully off to bond over the carnage.’
Palmer doesn't seem to care much for the trappings of the modern age and never fails to have the perfect, biased anecdote on hand for any situation. Kids using iPads "too soon?" Palmer has seen it with her own two eyes.
Educationalist and literacy expert Sue Palmer has been taken aback by how quickly iPad use for even the youngest children has become normalised since these gadgets were introduced in 2010. Far from helping children develop, Sue believes overuse of tablets can slow their progress.

“I recently visited a well-heeled nursery where a new mother introduced her three-year-old son by saying what a genius he was on his iPad,” she says. “However those skills came at a cost. Although the child could walk, he preferred to crawl. He had the language skills of an 18-month-old. This boy probably had some underlying developmental problem – but I’m sure long hours on the iPad made it much worse.”
Nothing like having your child pre-judged (along with your parenting skills) by a prominent member of a "well-healed nursery." But that's Palmer for you.

Palmer is also buddies with another tech hater, the Baroness Susan Greenfield, who memorably asserted that Twitter turned adults into infants because it's all about "look what I'm doing" -- a claim she backed up by using the outdated cliche of the social network being filled with nothing but pictures of people's breakfasts. (That's Instagram.)

So, this is the sort of person who sees the introduction of female characters into a very male-dominated series and says to herself -- and then out loud later to a "journalist" -- this game is bad for young, female children. This game, which is rated 18+ should probably not be played by young girls, which is pretty much exactly what the rating on the box says, only without all the additional evidence-less baggage thrown in.

No one is recommending children play this game. Yes, children will play this game. Guess what? Pretty much every single one of them will turn out perfectly fine, even the girls who haven't normally been "targeted" by the purveyors of violent games.

The problem is that -- beyond spouting ignorance in a variety of sensationalist publications -- Palmer's writings on the subject have been cited by UK government publications, which means she's made a few inroads towards making the national conversation about video games and technology stupider. This sort of alarmism makes for spectacular pull quotes and feeds into feelings many legislators have about themselves.

Politicians believe they turned out fine, and they didn't grow up with iPads and smartphones. And today's youths often seem weird and scary… so technology might be the problem. Let's keep a legislative, overly-wary eye on it.

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Filed Under: call of duty, females, sue palmer, video games, violence


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  1. icon
    Jeffrey Nonken (profile), 9 Nov 2015 @ 12:55pm

    Re:

    Yeah, well, this is the Internet. Mostly I've learned to grit my teeth, ignore the errors and move on. It's either that or offer my services as a copy editor. Probably wouldn't work out even if they accepted, I already spend too much of my free time playing Payday 2 and learning to be a mass murderer.

    So here, have a cup of coffee on me.

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