Indonesia Turns to Smart-Phone Apps to Keep Youths Away from Radicalism

Lintang Sulastri
160128-ID-mobile-620 The Indonesian National Police has launched the “Defeat Terrorists” game app to encourage young people to steer clear of radicalism, Jan. 28, 2016.

In the wake of this month’s deadly terrorist attack in Jakarta, the Indonesian national police have launched a pair of mobile phone applications designed to dissuade young people from becoming radicalized.

The apps “Stop Terrorism” and “Defeat the Terrorists” were developed by a member of their own generation, Adjie Pratama, a 23-year-old home-school mathematics and physics teacher.

Pratama told BenarNews that he got the idea after monitoring the reactions of internet users in Indonesia following the Jan. 14 attack claimed by the Islamic State in central Jakarta, which left eight people dead, including the four alleged attackers.

“I myself was surprised to see reactions as the attacks occurred. What I first saw was the trending topic of #KamiTidakTakut (#WeAreNotAfraid), and then saw reports of a satay street vendor who was still selling even though the situation was dangerous,” Pratama said.

“And then came the trending topic of #PolisiGanteng (#HandsomePolice), referring to a handsome, stylish police officer deployed to the terror site. These made me think that Indonesian people can also be so relaxed,” Pratama said.

That inspired him to create a mobile phone app that he called “Bantai Teroris” (“Slaughter the terrorists”), and which he urged his colleagues to play.

Police participate in development

From there, a friend introduced Pratama to Inspector General Anton Charliyan, the national police spokesman.

Charliyan invited Pratama to work with the police in developing the app into a game that could be played on mobile phones, but asked him to change the name because it was too violent. The police eventually approved another name: “Defeat the Terrorists.”

Pratama then developed “Stop Terrorism,” an app aimed at preventing terrorism. It allows people to report suspicious activity to police. They can also use it to discuss their concerns in an online chat room supervised by police officers. The app allows people to file complaints directly to police.

“We created this application so that young people will be against terrorism and can access police via their smart phone,” Charliyan told BenarNews.

The police will now work with Pratama to develop apps designed to counter other problems on their beat, including drugs.

Slings and stones

Pratama’s “Defeat the Terrorists” features seven levels.

Players use slingshots and stones to beat the terrorists, the game’s designer explained.

“For every terrorist hit by a stone or slingshot, a user will get points. But users must also be vigilant, because the armed terrorists can shoot them too,” Pratama said.

Throughout each game, participants receive messages such as “Terrorism is not Jihad,” and “Terrorism has no religion.” Each message ends with the hash tag “#WeAreNotAfraid.”

Pratama said both apps can be downloaded for free from Google Play Store and Amazon.

Mixed reviews

Many users have given the game positive reviews, according to Enda Nasution, a social media observer.

But others did not like the game because it simply is about shooting and does not resolve the problem of terrorism, Nasution said.

Nonetheless, the phone app is a good way to alert young people to the threat of radicalism, he said.

“The game may be used to counteract the spread of radical ideologies, however the methods to counteract it need to be clear,” Nasution told BenarNews. “Make a good game, based on the right scientific methods, do not rush.”

Pratama agreed, pointing out that both apps were made within five days of his meeting with the police.

“In terms of function, terrorism does not happen every day. If there is information to be conveyed, is better to do it by mobile phone,” Nasution added.


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