The Daily Mail has jumped on the story of South Manchester coroner John Pollard (pictured) who noticed that four teenagers who had committed suicide, in a span of at least two years, had played a Call of Duty game.
That's not surprising. Playing video games is a very common activity and Call of Duty is one of the most popular video games, selling well over 100 million titles over the years. So, of course, Daily Mail ran the headline: Violent video game is now linked to 4 teenage deaths.
Did the coroner link the games to the suicides?
No. Mr. Pollard ain't a fan of kids playing violent games and recommends parents heed the age ratings but all he said was that Call of Duty "seems to be figuring in recent activity before death."
The article mentions two teens. The first is Callum Green (age 14) who in Feb. 2012 "was found hanged after playing Call of Duty with his stepfather." Later in the article, it says he "was found hanged in his bedroom after being grounded by his mother following a row."
The second teen is William Menzies (age 16) who earlier this year "suffocated himself in his bedroom, where he frequently played the war-simulation game on an Xbox."
His father said, "Nothing about him caused concern. He was very taken with his studies and he enjoyed playing his Xbox. The game he always played was Call of Duty. He was rather self-contained, he didn’t like going out a great deal. He didn’t drink or smoke... He had exams coming up, but that wouldn’t cause him any worry as he was a straight-A student."
"He never threatened self-harm to my knowledge. He was happy that day and the last thing I heard him do was laugh, so I could only guess as to why he might have done it, but there is no doubt he intended to take his life."