Video game predator warning

July 2, 2008 4:32:37 PM PDT
Sexual predators will never stop trying to get to children. What parents may not know is that many predators are now using gaming consoles to reach their potential victims.

Parents stood in line for hours at Christmas to get the latest video games for their kids thinking it was one way to get kids off line. Now we're learning that may not be the case.

Especially during the summer, kids spend most of their days in front of the television playing videogames. And with new technology, many of these games, like Xbox 360, Nintendo Wii and PlayStation 3 aren't just exclusive to TV.

"You can hook up high speed Internet access to play massive multiplayer games," said Russell Ackerly of the Harris County Sheriff Department.

Cyber Crimes Task Force agent Russell Ackerly says these games come with headsets so you can talk directly to other players from around the world and use keyboards to instantly text. It's an innocent idea that is now turning into a giant playground for predators and can lead children from the game site to other chat rooms.

A predator could pose a question to a child in the guise of trying to help out with a technical problem.

Within ten seconds of logging onto a Texas area chat room, Ackerly showed us people are talking to him.

The conversations?

"Guys where are ya I'm kinda lonely."
"Want to watch me on my web cam?"
"Please let me be your female sex toy."

It's not just here, predators are finding their way on sites where kids are just trying to play free games.

Special agent Randall Clark says Jonathan Mahaney of Houston got a Detroit girl's screen name from a game and sent her a revealing picture. Ronnie Harp was busted for meeting who he thought was a 13 year old girl for sex at Baybrook Mall.

It's a scary thought to parents and grandparents.

You can use these games without utilizing the Internet component and many of them have parental controls. However the FBI says children are so technologically sophisticated they can over-ride them.

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