Are Video Game Predators After Your Children?

Illustration for article titled Are Video Game Predators After Your Children?

Here I am trying to get my girlfriend to let me play Halo 3 online with her 8-year-old son and USA Today has to go and release another sexual predators using video game consoles to get to your children story. The story, titled "Predators use gaming consoles to 'get foot in the door'", details several cases in which child predators used games like World of Warcraft and Halo to gain access to children, and the efforts of law enforcement officials who are now forced to play video games undercover to try and catch criminals.

"Child predators are migrating from traditional methods to alternate media," says Detective Lt. Thomas Kish of the Michigan State Police. "They are going to places where children are."


This is the kind of story that would be easy to dismiss as anti-gaming propaganda - were it not entirely factual.

I personally know someone in the computer forensics field who has attended a National Conference, during which they recieved training from Microsoft on how to retrieve data from Xbox systems to aid in investigations, and some of the stories he has told me are completely chilling. Adults pretending to be children, asking if they can stop by to drop off a new game for their little friends after bonding via Xbox Live, for instance. Hell, Nintendo's friend code system is only safe until your child starts visiting internet forums to exchange them with 'friends'.

The sad fact of the matter is that child predators do indeed go where children are, and parents need to pay extremely close attention to who their children are interacting with when gaming online via console or television. All of the major consoles contain parental controls, but they are not electronic replacements for true parental controls.

Predators use gaming consoles to 'get foot in the door' [USA Today - Thanks David]



To this article's headline...let's get one thing straight.

It should read Are predators after your children?

Be it video games, forums, messengers, movie theaters, parks, malls, sporting events, church, school...they're the same predators. The medium is completely null and void. The same guy trying to nab Susie over WoW is the same guy at the mall eyeing over the Junior Miss section is the same guy who goes to Rugrats in Paris at 5:30 with a bucket of popcorn and a van...

This headline is just basically taking the same story and inserting whatever the hot new medium happens to be in order to make it appear somehow more relevant. As if predators are like wild animals and migrate from one food source to the next.