If the kids in your life play games, it’s important that adults keep an eye out for predators who contact them through the games.
A case in point, a 41-year-old mom of three met a 14-year-old boy online while playing a game and used that connection to seduce the young teen.
Authorities in Connecticut said she used messaging in the game and later phone communication to lure the child into meeting her at a motel room for sex. She booked the room and traveled from her home in Pennsylvania to meet the boy. However, the child’s father foiled her plan when he became suspicious and checked the text message’s on his son’s phone.
“Sarah Norton deliberately and aggressively manipulated a 14-year-old boy, a child that was around the same age as her own children, for her own sexually deviant motives,” said Acting U.S. Attorney Jennifer Williams. “Her predatory behavior is difficult to comprehend; as a mother herself, she knew the damage she was causing and simply did not care. Our Office will continue to investigate and prosecute sexual predators like the defendant so that they can no longer harm innocent children.”
Sarah Norton, 41, of Jewett City, Connecticut, was sentenced to 14 years in prison, followed by 20 years of supervised release.
Kids using game consoles like an Xbox or a PlayStation, also have the ability to connect directly with other players. This can lead to perhaps hearing language you don’t approve of or connecting with friends you might not like or to more serious things like adults bullying children, attempting to lure them into sexual relationships. There was even a case where an adult called in a fake police report to send a SWAT team to a child’s house because the kid was kicking his behind in a video game.
Many games you play on the phone also have messaging capabilities.
So, if your kids are playing games, you need to be familiar enough with that game to know if direct messaging is available. You also need to set up rules for messaging, including who they’re allowed to message, and check those messages.