Online Sense is ICDL Arabia's philanthropic arm aimed at raising public awareness on Cyber Safety.

Interactive online might seem like a lot of fun, but like any other platform that lets strangers interact, electronic games expose people (Especially youngsters) to harmful grooming. When it comes to grooming, terrorists find violent games an ideal platform to manipulate young minds.

The Al Ameen service of Dubai police recently issued a statement on how interactive electronic games are being used by extremists to identify and groom youngsters with the aim of influencing or recruiting them.

According to the statement, “There are many hidden aspects of involving in electronic games. The most prominent is the interactive conversations with unknown people, extreme intellectual manipulation to achieve a special agenda, and also extorting the player financially if he wants to move to higher levels in the game.”

It’s now an open secret that video games are a hotbed of violence and destruction that influence young minds. The statement for Al Ameen set this as the context for why video games can be used by terrorists. “Violence becomes easy and natural reaction to the attitudes of the gamers’ daily lives changes within time. Using specific information like the age group, nature of the work, living conditions or psychological balance, these strangers manipulate their personalities, sense of justice and make them easy prey to fall into traps.”

Focussing on the disturbing new trends, Al Ameen explained, “Extremist organisations use experienced personalities to influence human behaviour using psychological manipulation. Their work begins with a random selection of individuals. Then comes the systematic selection stage according to the information collected – short-term and long-term,” said the media statement.

“Luring of victims takes place in gradual indirect steps to win their confidence. The objectives of these organisations or groups vary – looking for funds taking advantage of the players’ desire to move to next levels; looking for information for the deconstruction of communities and penetration of ideas, as well as hit the national unity of states and shake people’s confidence in their governments.”