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Enhanced fight against the abuse of online gaming culture by extremists


A highly increasingly influencing societal issue related to radicalisation is the online gaming culture. Earlier studies have shown no link between video games and violence. However, terrorism and gaming experts claim that forums and chatrooms are used as recruitment tools. Research is needed to analyse the use of online gaming culture and structure by violent extremists as well as their modus operandi through video game chatrooms and forums.

Regarding video games themselves, an in-depth analysis is needed on how the type of the video game, of its theme, design, aesthetics etc. plays a role in the choice of the chatroom to be used as a recruitment area. As far as video game chatrooms, including social media platforms discussing video games, are concerned, dissemination strategies of violent extremists through them as well as their ways of grooming should be analysed.

Based on the results of these analyses, innovative (societal) means of fighting this type of crime, both online and offline, should be developed. The role of Police Authorities in this respect should be analysed. Possibilities of detecting and investigating this type of crime should be discussed as well, with a focus on legal and ethical aspects. Modern and effective awareness raising campaigns should be developed, that would target young people, parents, school teachers, video-gaming industry and wide communities, and that take into account the European multicultural dimension. Methods for evaluating proposed solutions should be developed as well. Suggestions to gaming industry on which traps to avoid when designing and upgrading a video game should be provided too.

Proposed activities should take into account the evolving nature of this type of crime and of technology, and be performed while respecting the applicable legislation and fundamental rights, such as privacy and protection of personal data. Societal dimension should be in the core of proposed activities, with a support of technologies. The consortia should consist in Police Authorities, representatives of gaming industry, gaming experts, IT specialists, (cyber) psychologists and sociologists. This topic requires the effective contribution of SSH disciplines and the involvement of SSH experts, institutions as well as the inclusion of relevant SSH expertise, in order to produce meaningful and significant effects enhancing the societal impact of the related research activities. Social innovation is recommended when the solution is at the socio-technical interface and requires social change, new social practices, social ownership or market uptake. Participation of relevant Civil Society Organisations or gaming communities would be an added value. Analysis of the possible applications of research results to other similar problems (e.g. child sexual abuse) is welcome.

Coordination with successful proposals under topic HORIZON-CL2-DEMOCRACY-2022-01-04 (Evolution of political extremism and its influence on contemporary social and political dialogue) should be envisaged so as to avoid duplication and to exploit complementarities as well as opportunities for increased impact.