Online streaming of video games is a popular pastime on different types of gaming consoles. Gamers can engage in the gaming community by streaming a live video of them playing a game of their choice and displaying their progress for audiences all over the world.
There is a phenomenon called “swatting” that is used in the gaming world. It is an activity in which one gamer can get revenge on a rival gamer by interrupting a video that the rival gamer is conducting with police interference. A gamer will be conducting a live stream video. An opposing gamer will call the police as a form of revenge, and then the police go to the reported destination. The gamer doing the livestream will get taken down by the police on video in front of all their video viewers. Depending on the supposed threat, the interference team can range from police to even SWAT teams.
The trend is becoming a serious issue due to the fact that an innocent victim is being harassed and even sometimes getting arrested on no terms. If a gamer is swatted and police or the SWAT team enter their home, it is all viewed on the livestream video the gamer is conducting. Major protective units are being misused just for a prank, which is expensive. It can cost thousands of dollars every time a SWAT team is sent out.
Overall, the whole idea is immature and rude. Most gamers conduct these swatting events on other gamers because of revenge. It is a complete waste of time for the protective units that come out to solve an issue. It is also a waste. It is also a waste of money that could be dedicated to something else when there is an actual emergency. The person being attacked is being put through something that is not required and can lead to a very dangerous situation.
Some people seem to have mixed views about the idea of this prank. “I believe prank calling is fun and is not something it is entirely wrong,” said Wakefield High School junior Felipe Caceres. “It can be a good way to have a laugh, but some people take it way too far and instead of making it fun it becomes bad and controversial.”
Swatting is not only used in the gaming world; people launch pranks on others just at random. The prankster will call the police and state an emergency that is directed towards a random address. People usually view this technique as just a normal prank call, but the difference is that these forms of calls require immediate attention.
“It’s a very shocking experience, like what are the cops doing at your house in the first place,” said Wakefield High School junior Youssef Errami, and avid gamer. “If you know the gamer is a good person, you wonder what are the cops doing at their house. There is no way of recreating something like that. It is a very intense situation.” As a gamer, Errami has seen many incidents of swatting as he watches video streams.
People who engage in swatting or any other form of prank can be arrested, receive federal charges or even go to prison. “It’s funny when you think about it, but then again it is not,” said junior Hayden Zahn. “It is not a good thing to think about someone’s door getting taken down [by the SWAT team]. It also can become very dangerous.”
Most people who are prosecuted for swatting are serial offenders. That does not mean that a one time prank offender will not get caught. So to avoid all possible consequences, people should refrain from swatting of all types. It is a foolish and pointless idea that can lead to something dangerous. The police take it very seriously, whether it is in the real world, or the gaming world.