Pandemic makes life more dependent on the Internet: Online games have become a new hotbed for terrorists


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Interpersonal relationships, social life and the work environment have largely moved to cyberspace since the dawn of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A significant online gaming culture with its own communication ecosystems and subcultures has also emerged.

More and more people are using games and other related platforms to find psychological comfort, socialize and make new friends.

According to the United Nations Office Against Terrorism (UNOCT), terrorists and violent extremists are also invading the online gaming space for their own sinister purpose.

They use the digital space to spread extremist propaganda, raise funds and recruit people.

In just a few decades, the online gaming industry has exploded, allowing gamers to enter a whole new world. (Credit: UNCCT)

Therefore, the United Nations urges Member States to take countermeasures against this major and urgent international problem.

As a result, the rapid development of online gaming technology has brought together 2.7 billion gaming users of different age, gender and nationality in the digital world.

They participate in online competitions that simulate the real-life experience, a phenomenon that terrorists can use to promote extreme terrorism.

Clear and present danger

United Nations Counterterrorism Center (UNCCT) director Dr Jehangir Khan said the anxiety and depression over the coronavirus outbreak has provided fertile ground for conspiracy theories, the speech of violent extremist propaganda to spread online and offline around the world.

Director of the United Nations Center against Terrorism (UNCCT) Dr Jehangir Khan. (Credit (UNCCT)

He also warned that the terrorists were also planning and preparing for their next attack.

Jehangir pointed out that the online games developed by Al-Qaida and the Islamic State are adapted from popular first-person shooters.

They use online games to make plans that transcend national borders and therefore need to be resolved through multilateral cooperation and multi-stakeholder participation.

Director of the United Nations Center against Terrorism (UNCCT) Dr Jehangir Khan

Play can also act as a force for good

The UNCCT said it is committed to raising awareness and providing programmatic responses to combat this exploitation.

Efforts are also being made to explore opportunities for developing the play space as a force for good in an effort to prevent violent extremism.

The UNCCT’s findings were announced at a recent panel discussion on video games and violent extremism.

The event was the third phase of a multi-pronged initiative to combat exploitation in games.

Watch the recording of the event on Youtube or via UN Web TV by following this link

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Carolyn M. Daniel