Some may rely on the World Health Organization’s new classification of the risks of addictive video games in their judgment of digital entertainment, but the fact is that the greatest risk comes from third parties who usually exploit the fame of online video games such as Fortnite, in similar cases to what happened yesterday in the United Arab Emirates
The Dubai Police General Directorate of Investigations and Criminal Investigations revealed through local newspapers and sites that it has rescued more than 10 children (aged nine to ten years old) from the danger they were exposed to through the popular BattleRoyale Fortnite, which has become the scene of several crimes because of its wide fame, especially among young children.
According to the police department, the children were blackmailed by a 25-year-old college student who tried to blackmail them by luring them with in-game V-bucks through chat rooms in the game, where he asked for selfies from the children to force them to do as he tells them, threatening to publish their photos if they do not.
Fortunately, thanks to the rapid intervention of Dubai Police, the scheme was thwarted before it was too late and the suspect was arrested, who turned out to be just a university student, to his family’s surprise that he was behind such horrendous plan after they thought he was choosing isolation in his room to study his courses.
The suspect was reached after a child told his mother that someone had asked him for pictures via Fortnite in exchange for money. The mother immediately filled a complaint to the authorities so that the police could start investigating. The suspect had more than 200 pictures of a number of children. Punishment for this young man is imprisonment and a fine ranging from 250,000 Dirhams to 1 million.
The police stressed in their press statement that parents should pay attention to their children while they are online and on social networking sites, as children are the easiest prey for criminals and blackmailers because of their lack of experience in addition to their curiosity to experience and interact with strangers.
Despite Epic Games’s many attempts to close outlets through which criminals can access their victims through Fortnite, which has become a virtual cybercrime arena, raising awareness and parents warning to their children is the most important act in most cases, especially as the weak-hearted continue to find different gaps to reach their victims.