End Military Use of Video Games to Recruit Children

Target: Dr. Mark Esper, United States Secretary of Defense

Goal: Forbid recruiters from using e-sports streaming to approach children as young as 13 with recruitment offers.

The United States Army, Navy, and Air Force have expanded their recruiting efforts to Twitch, a popular online streaming platform where dedicated gamers paid by the Department of Defense engage with children as young as 13 to convince them to join the military. Whereas previous recruiting efforts were restricted to public offices and school visits, the use of Twitch, along with the offers of prizes and giveaways, is a new and insidious method of attracting children to the military.

Traditional recruiting resembles a sales pitch, in which the recruiter explains the benefits of military service and it’s then left to the potential recruit to decide. Under lockdown conditions, however, teenagers have spent more than 5 billion hours on gaming and streaming platforms, where recruiters talk to them for hours while they play together, with banner ads linking to recruitment forms which can be signed by children as young as 12. If users question this practice or offer any criticism, they’re immediately banned from channels.

This practice is deeply troubling and of questionable morality. The use of games to recruit or attract interest in military service is disturbingly close to child soldiery and must be stopped. Sign the petition below to demand that the Secretary of Defense forbid this practice.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear Secretary Esper,

The use of professional e-sports teams, recruited from active duty military personnel, to attract children and teenagers to military service is a troubling new practice in military recruiting. Recruiters are already able to enlist teenagers as young as 16, and that age range has now been expanded to children as young as 13, according to Twitch’s user rules.

The US Armed Forces have no legal or moral right to promote military service among our children through the use of games or otherwise. I demand that you forbid the interaction of recruiters with young children immediately.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: United States Army




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213 Signatures

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