Telecommunications Regulatory Authority warns against groups using electronic games to incite sedition

Chat features in some games could be exploited to recruit followers



UAE, August 6, 2016 –The Telecommunications Regulatory Authority (TRA) has warned the public that some criminal groups propagating radical ideologies may exploit the chat features across some of today’s electronic games–spreading violent ideas and encouraging rebellious actions among youth and adolescents. By manipulating their emotions and influencing their minds through messages and conversations, young people are susceptible to exploitation and could lead them to the wrong path.

The TRA said that isolation of teenagers from the community and spending most of their time playing electronic games in their own rooms, away from families, could weaken their social connection, which makes them an easy target for such groups.

The TRA noted that the unprecedented progress in the information and communications technology (ICT) sector makes it imperative for governments to find appropriate ways to address the potential risks associated with its growth, in the absence of right values and principles. The proliferation of unnecessary gadgets,as a result of addiction to electronic games and the absence of interaction among youths within a social environment, as well as excessive consumerism and lack of religious affinity make the youth easy targets for groups looking to inflict societal harm and ruin establishments.

Eng. Mohammed Al Zarooni, Director for Policy and Programs Department at the TRA, said: “The groups that adopt such vicious thinking are trying to recruit young people and adolescents through some electronic games, starting with unusual conversations with them in such a way that it reveals their weaknesses so they can be easily exploited and instructed to commit unlawful acts.”

Al Zarooni underscored the importance of warning teenagers and young people that some figures in electronic games are fraudulent. He called on young people to be aware of negative ideas and opinions and to talk with their relatives when they are exposed to such groups and consult the concerned authorities.

The TRA emphasized that such criminal groups with destabilizing agenda exploit electronic games in general and use war games to propagate the use of weapons. They entice good players to keep them addicted to the games, so it would be easy for them to recruit these youth to commit crimes and carry out their hidden agenda.

TRA advised parents to put gaming tools in the living room to ensure that these recruiters will not have the opportunity to be alone with the children and young adults. Parents should also allow them to log in only to electronic accounts that are known to them and examine the content of those accounts periodically to make sure that their children are not exposed to any attempt that would change their opinions and belief systems or would encourage them to form new friendships with unfamiliar people, as these are the tactics often used in recruiting them, he added.

The TRA also urged parents to protect their children and spend more time with the children and educate them not to establish relations with strangers through chat channels in electronic games. also called on them to instill spiritual faith in children and strengthen their societal and ethical values by communicating with them more frequently to spare them from getting addicted to video games, which could only weaken their character.