A four-year-old’s family was investigated in 2019 after the child’s Fortnite comments were mistaken for being something far more sinister.
Chances are a lot of you reading this wish that your kids would play a little less Fortnite. Well, probably not as much as one family in the UK. Their four-year-old talking about the game at school ended with the family receiving a late-night visit from a police officer, and even being investigated under the government’s Prevent strategy.
The boy was overheard talking about how his dad had guns and bombs in his shed. A worrying reveal to any adult who happened to hear the conversation. However, the little one had his wires crossed, and thus crossed the wires of whoever it was who overheard the worrying confession. What the four-year-old was actually referring to was the night before when he watched his older cousin play Fortnite at his dad’s house.
This much was clarified during a talk with an after school worker following the incident, all of which was transcribed. However, the aforementioned Prevent strategy meant police had to follow up on what was said with the boy’s family. The boy’s mom told The Guardian that the officer who visited their house looked “uneasy” and questioned whether there would have been a follow-up visit had her son not been a Muslim.
The Prevent strategy was first introduced in the UK in 2003 as a means to prevent children from being radicalized from a young age. Schools and after-school clubs are required to report anything telling or worrying they might see or hear to the authorities. That’s what happened here, even though the situation appeared to have been flagged as a misunderstanding before it reached the next level.
Fortnite and other video games have been accused of a lot of things over the years, but never accusations of terrorism, at least as far as we know. Schools in Kentucky did remove Fortnite as an official esport last year in an attempt to reduce the risk of gun violence. Six months later a study, the latest of many, discovered no discernable link between violent video games and replicating that behavior in real-life.
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Josh has been gaming for as long as he can remember. That love began with a mild childhood addiction to the Sega Genesis, or Mega Drive since he lives in the UK. Back then, Sonic 2 quickly became his favorite game and as you might have guessed from his picture, the franchise has remained close to his heart ever since. Nowadays, he splits his time between his PS4 and his Switch and spends far too much time playing Fortnite. If you’re a fan of gaming, wrestling, and soccer, give him a follow on Twitter @BristolBeadz.
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