A Different Way to Stop Terrorism

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COLLEGE PARK, MD (WRC) - A group of University of Maryland students is working to try to stop terror attacks like we saw recently in London.

This group has developed a video game which teaches people to recognize the signs of radicalization and look for ways to take action. (Photo Courtesy: NBC)

They've developed a video game which teaches people to recognize the signs of radicalization and look for ways to take action.

Meet Jack - a normal teenager, for the most part. Except he's showing signs of radicalization.

"You look at Jack's computer, and you see he has a Stormfront tab open," says University of Maryland Grad Brittni Fine.

Brittni is part of a team that's developed a video game setting out to do something the counter terrorism sector has been trying for years - win a war of the mind, pre-empt extremism.

In the game, the player is a "bystander" - a family member or friend who might see the signs.

"And really have that power to change them, help them down a better path that never even leads to radicalization in the first place," Brittany said.

But what do you do?

Options include ignoring it, engaging him for more information and calling the police.

These are real scenarios the team gained from interviews with people whose loved ones or friends went radical.

"They told us they had absolutely no idea something was wrong, or 'I didn't know who to turn to. I didn't want to turn in my son,'" Brittni said.

Do enough of the wrong things, and it doesn't end well for Jack or anyone else.

"Due to your failure to take the right actions, Jack has now bombed an event between the MSA and the Black Student Union," Brittni said.

It's far better to lose in the confines of cyberspace, than the real world.

"We would love to this to be family friendly. To come out on Wii games or an app on your phone," Brittni said.

The ultimate aim, she says, is to make a difference.

Students involved with the project say it came about after interviewing a mother who had multiple sons leave the U.S. to join the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria.



 
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