Homeland Security funds initiative to prevent gamers from becoming terrorists

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The Department of Homeland Security recently announced it would be awarding a $700k grant to fund research into how video games can be used to radicalize adolescents into becoming terrorists.

There has been an ongoing debate between gamers and government leaders over how video games affect the actions of young adults. A common argument is that violent games like Call of Duty and Grand Theft Auto can lead to young gamers enacting real-world violence.

However, multiple scientific studies have claimed that there is no evidence to support that playing violent video games leads to real-world violence.

But the DHS isn’t targeting video games as the root cause of adolescent violence. Instead, a recent grant awarded to the Middlebury’s Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism is meant to help identify extremists who use video games to radicalize players.

$700k awarded to video game counterterrorism

csgo counter terroistsThe Counter-Terrorist team in CS:GO

The Targeted Violence and Terrorism Prevention Grant is intended to provide funding to establish or enhance capabilities to prevent targeted violence and terrorism. The Department of Homeland Security awarded Middlebury $699,763 with which they intend to accomplish three goals.

  • Raise societal awareness
  • Establish media literacy and online critical thinking initiative
  • Produce civic engagement

The official DHS TVTP page states that this is a joint endeavor between the CTEC, Take This, and Logically to develop a shared framework to better understand extremism in video games.

With this grant, the trio of organizations hopes to develop a set of practices and resources for those involved in developing and maintaining games. Specific positions were named including community managers, multiplayer designers, lore developers, mechanics designers, and trust and safety professionals.

The resource will include a series of training workshops that will teach the necessary personnel how to monitor, detect, and prevent extremist exploitation of young gamers.

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