Online policing and monitoring of video games such as Fortnite is nothing new. Given that players belong to all age groups, having a system in place to allow them to report no good-doers or other issues is standard procedure.
It's one of the basic norms that developers have to follow while making an online game. Nevertheless, even then, overseeing the safety of children and teenagers is not an easy task. However, the Danish Polish have been able to find the perfect solution to this problem.
Danish Police might be cranking out 90s in Fortnite Chapter 4
Danish Police have taken in-game security to a brand new level by deploying a squad of officers to patrol the internet. They have created a special online unit called "Politiets Online Patrulje," which roughly translates to Police Online Patrol.
Their goal is to strengthen their digital presence and allow citizens (in this case, players) to engage in dialogue and/or conversations with a digital law keeper on the internet. Much like on the streets, this special unit will patrol social networks, keeping an eye out for no good-doers.
Their main goal is to be able to prevent or stop inappropriate behavior and to intervene in the event of offenses in the digital realm. Netizens can contact them via social media platforms as well as seek the necessary help. While this would seem good enough given the day and age, they have taken things one step further.
A few patrol officers have created accounts in online video games such as Fortnite, Minecraft, and Counter-Strike: Global Offensive. They often play with young people online and moderate games on Twitch as well. This special online division even has its own Discord server.
Does his new online division actually help prevent hate speech and grooming in games like Fortnite?
Although there's not enough data to provide conclusive evidence that Police Online Patrol works as intended, they are expected to create a positive impact. One Reddit user by the name of Bazeon had this to say:
While this statement may not hold true in all instances, if players, especially young adults in video games like Fortnite, can talk to officers as strangers and share their feelings, there's no doubt some sense will be talked into them. Officers, on the other hand, can play anonymously or in incognito mode to catch individuals who may be trying to promote radicalization of any kind.
While this is not foolproof, it does help in the grand scheme of things. The very notion that an officer of the law may be playing in their squad is enough to keep most hate speech, fraud, and grooming attempts at bay. Here's what a few more netizens have to say:
With all that said, this is not the first time the Danish Police have been in the limelight where video games are concerned, as they've been leveraging the power of social media and multiplayer video games such as Fortnite for a while now.
During the Covid pandemic in late 2020, they recommended that people stay home rather than go over to a friend's house to game. Instead, they were advised to use Discord to keep in touch with friends as they played multiplayer games such as CS:GO or LoL. For those who enjoyed single-player games, The Witcher 3 was recommended.
All said and done, while this online division may be more experimental than functional in nature, it's a step forward in the right direction. If even one child or young adult can be helped or positively influenced through this initiative, then it's worth the effort, resources, and time invested.