Swatting is when someone calls 911 to deceive emergency services into sending a response team (SWAT) to someone else’s address.Follow along on our podcast:
What is “swatting”?
- There’s a phenomenon in social media/online games called “Swatting.” It’s when someone makes a prank call to emergency services in an attempt to dispatch of a large number of armed police officers to a particular address
- Due to wasted resources and emergency services, swatting is described as terrorism
- Swatting is triggered by someone falsely claiming a serious emergency to emergency dispatch (such as bomb threats, murder, and hostage situations) with the goal of having a SWAT team deployed to a specific location
Why should students care?
- Making false reports to emergency services is a criminal offense in many countries and is punishable by fines and/or imprisonment
- Not only is “swatting” a criminal offense but it can also be deadly. Performing these activities can have a serious effect on your and your families lives
Swatting in the News
Calling for a SWAT team unnecessarily can be expensive, dangerous, and deadly. –CBS
Swattings can cause serious disruption and property damage. –New York Times
[Swatting] isn’t just a prank gone awry but something that is really despicable behavior and diverts some of our nation’s most important first responder assets away from serious crimes. –NPR
What can parents do?
- Teach your children to call emergency services only if there is a legitimate emergency
- Consider explaining to your children the consequences of fabricating an emergency and alerting dispatch services
- Swatting is a common cyber bullying tactic used in online gaming communities
- If you suspect your child is being cyberbullied, remind them that they can always come to you or a trusted adult
- Consider joining Parent University to get videos you can watch WITH your children. These videos will start a healthy dialog that will keep them safe and smart online