The British army’s controversial recruitment policy has sparked fresh criticism as minor children interested in video games have been encouraged to join the military.
A report by The Guardian newspaper on Wednesday showed that the British army had sent a military magazine to teenage gamers, calling on them to join its ranks.
The report said army recruiters had allegedly arranged for the glossy magazine, called The Locker, to be distributed with the latest issue of a PlayStation publication in February.
The Locker included information on lifestyle and details on how to join the army, said the report, adding that the magazine also contained direct pleas from the army in the form of images and articles encouraging the minors to join the military’s ranks.
The British army has been struggling to recruit from a new generation of the British youth who are mostly disinterested in the country’s expanding military missions around the world.
Rights campaigners had previously criticized army’s policy to seek recruitment from socially-odd groups such as addicted gamers and internet savvy teenagers.
“It is distressing to see the British Army use a gaming magazine as a vehicle to advertise army recruitment,” said Charlotte Cooper, UK research and campaign officer at Child Soldiers International.
Cooper said teenagers receiving The Locker could be easily influenced by the content and style of the magazine, adding that it was a dishonest gesture of the army to draw comparisons between gaming environment and military activity.
“Comparing a military environment to playing a games console is frankly ridiculous and disingenuous, and gives young people no sense of the risks involved in a military career,” she said.
Many believe the declining public interest in joining the British army is mainly a result of the country’s vast contribution to wars in Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decades which left thousands of members of the armed forces killed, injured or mentally unfit to continue a normal life.