Violent video games can teach children "lessons of morality" and are partly to thank for the reduction in violence during the nineties, former SAS operative Andy McNab has claimed.

Responding to comments made by Greater Manchester coroner John Pollard yesterday, who stated that it was "very important that young children don't play [Call of Duty]" or have access to violent video games, McNab defended the series in a column published on The Sun, saying:

"There have always been people that claim video games are bad for you. They're probably the same people that were worried when films first became 'talkies' and then got themselves worried about the switch to colour cinema from black and white.

"It's the same argument but for a different format and a new generation. The criticisms of games such as Call Of Duty are quite unfounded. After all, it's the same as the games we used to play as kids. In the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies children would play 'toy soldiers'- running across building sites, carrying wooden 'machine guns' and shooting everybody, which isn't that different from Call Of Duty, really.

"Call Of Duty, just like those old games, caters for that same basic human emotion, just in a different format."

McNab added that he felt video games like Call of Duty encouraged communication, and that their characters were "as culturally iconic as the likes of David Beckham".

"And they're probably better role models than most in normal life," he continued. "Because, ultimately, the heroes in these games do the right thing. These games are teaching lessons of morality through a well-known medium - violence.

"The reason violence reduced during Bill Clinton's time as president was because of the advent of gaming. It's definitely a generational thing which is causing the criticism of Call Of Duty - people just don't get it."

McNab's comments were written in response to Pollard's words of advice, who warned parents not to let their children play Call of Duty following the death of 14-year old Callum Green.

Callum, who was said to have been a fan of Call of Duty, hanged himself from his bed after an argument with his mother.

"The age limitations on these various computer games are there for a very valid reason," Pollard said. "Why, quite frankly, anybody would want to be playing them, I don't know.

"It is very important that young children don't play them or have access to them. I make a plea with parents to keep a very close eye on their children in that way."