Hate Games Wage War on The Net - KLTV.com - Tyler, Longview, Jacksonville |ETX News

05/17/03 - East Texas

Hate Games Wage War on The Net

An important warning for parents and kids who love to play on the computer. There's a new kind of video game lurking on the Internet, programs promoting racism and physical violence. Civil rights groups say it's too dangerous to ignore.

"This is serious. This is like an electronic hate crime," says Hispanic Advocate Hector Perez.

The crime begins with the click of a button, and a quick download later kids are viewing games promoting hate.

On a site run by self-proclaimed American Nazi Gerhard Lauck, kids can play a game featuring a Nazi storm trooper.

"For over a year now, we've been averaging about 2-million hits a month," says Lauck. Hate games are the latest high-tech tool showing up on neo-Nazi and white supremacist web sites. Experts who track these groups say this is a threat we can't ignore.

"We want to be sure that parents know about these games," says Brian Marcus with the anti-defamation league."They're trying to get kids who are impressionable, be able to teach them, sort of, how to hate."

"I think this is a clear effort to reach kids that the white supremacist movement has been trying to reach for many decades," says Mark Potok with the Southern Poverty Law Center.

In one game, racist messages are built right into the scenery. In another, the player is instructed to kill Jews, Hispanics and blacks. One even lets players shoot a gallery featuring civil rights leaders.

As a member of the NAACP, Jim Wiggins has seen racism firsthand. To him, the epidemic is frightening. "I've never seen it marketed to a younger group and put in video games to make it attractive to the next generation," he says.

Civil rights leaders like Wiggins and parents vow ultimately to win the game. "The best thing the parent can do is to talk to his or her child about what these games represent," says Mark Potok with Southern Poverty Law Center.

The anti-defamation league has software that can help shield hate sites from your child's computer. The "hate filter" is free for the downloading at the ADL's website. Hate groups, however, claim filters don't work, since they have a myriad of web sites, and continuously change web addresses.

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