A bridge too far?

A Swedish father was recently asked by his two sons for the computer game, Call of Duty. Noted for its extreme violence, the father said that his sons could have the game, but only if they had experienced war first hand and so better understood the violence Call of Duty was representing. The boys agreed, and the father, as a former war journalist, took them to Israel and Palestine to experience the latest conflict ‘on the ground’.

It sounds like the plot of a quirky film with a dark undertone, but this is exactly what happened to Carl-Magnus Helgegren and his sons, Frank (11) and Leo (10), a few weeks ago.


Credit: Carl-Magnus Helgegren, reproduced in The Telegraph

Since his actions, Carl-Magnus has been described as the ‘worst parent in the world’. For his part, Carl-Magnus has said that, ‘Video games themselves are not bad, but in Sweden and Europe we are very privileged. We have all this wealth and rights and social services. And with that comes the responsibility to educate ourselves and not just become zombies playing video games.’

We couldn’t agree more. But for those of a less adventurous disposition, perhaps Carlsson-Paige and Levin’s book, Who’s calling the shots? How to respond effectively to children’s fascination with war play and war toys, might be a safer place to start…





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