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Why parents should worry less about violent video games – and more about the extremist 'groomers' who target them

Armed police officers stand guard outside the Al Noor mosque, one of the mosques where some 50 people were killed by a self-avowed white supremacist gunman on March 15, in Christchurch on April 5, 2019
Armed police officers stand outside the Al Noor mosque in New Zealand in the wake of the Christchurch shooting Credit: Sanka Vidanagama/AFP

This article has an estimated read time of 13 minutes

It took a few months for Cliff to realise that his video game chatroom was being taken over by the far-Right. 

Since the spring of 2016 the 27-year-old had been hanging out with a few hundred like-minded people on Discord, a messaging app popular with gamers. Being in the group made it easy to find opponents, set up matches, and shoot the breeze in between. They played Hearts of Iron, an alternate history war game, and Team Fortress 2, a cartoonish competitive shooter.

Things began to change in April 2017, when the group's administrator cut back his duties, creating a power vacuum. Some of his “lieutenants”, who stepped up to fill the gap,...

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