The Guardian reports that the British government’s Prevent system, a community terrorism watchdog brimming with baked-in racism, once received a tip about a four-year-old boy who was overheard talking about Fortnite, which resulted in police turning up at the family’s home.
The boy was reported in 2019, having been overheard after school saying his father had “guns and bombs in his shed”. Yet it was soon discovered through transcripts that he had simply been talking about weapons in Fortnite, having been watching his older cousin play the game and having his words taken wildly out of context.
The seriousness of the submission, and the innocence of the boy’s comments, have led to further criticism of the Prevent scheme, which relies on all kinds of “public bodies” (schools, clubs, doctors, etc) to “report concerns about radicalisation”.
The same story reveals that since 2016, over 2000 British children under the age of nine have been reported to Prevent, leading to fears that Muslim children are being unfairly targeted by the program.
“It’s…worrying that hundreds of children barely old enough to tie their own shoelaces are being profiled as potential future criminals based on things like the video games they play or the perceived views of their families”, Rosalind Comyn, policy and campaigns manager for Liberty, told The Guardian.