Cybersecurity: Predators Target Kids in Popular Online Games
LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – Tonight we’re here to kick off our month-long series on Keeping Our Kids Safe Online.
Even young children playing games rated “E” for everyone can be at risk. 6 News recently spoke with a Michigan State Police investigator in the Internet Crime Unit.
Minecraft, Fortnite, Roblox, Zoomerang, Discord, and Kik Messenger.
If even any of these seem familiar to you, you’ll want to pay attention to them.
These are just a few of the best games and apps that 6 year olds are using. Even if you think your child is too young for social media, chances are they are already socializing online, ”said Sarah Corlett, MSP soldier. “I don’t think parents realize what Roblox really is.
For those of you who don’t, this is one of the most popular apps among 6-12 year olds. It is a system of hundreds of games where children create their own avatar and identity, building virtual life and interacting with others, playing the game along the way.
“Some people on Roblox will chat, they will try to get the kids to meet them somewhere, so you have to be careful of that as a parent.”
Corlett says similar dangers lurk in virtually every virtual game these days.
“Kids can send information, you give the age of their birthday, and people can get that information pretty quickly.”
She says young children assume they are playing with other children their age, but sometimes that is not the case.
Many are predators who hope to lure children out of cyberspace and into dangerous real-world situations.
“You don’t know who is behind these screens.”
And that’s exactly what happened in a recent case that landed in front of the state police. An 11-year-old girl bonded with “a friend” who she thought was her age, but who turned out to be a man in his twenties.
“She sent pictures of herself to this adult. They met on discord and then started talking on skype and Kik Messenger. They draw you to other chat rooms for further private discussion. It was on his school-issued Chromebook that it all happened.
She says that over the past year, Chromebooks have mainly come into play, as schools across the state and nation have distributed them to countless students to help them learn online at home.
“You can get Roblox and Fortnite and Discord and all social media like Tik Toc and Zoomerang which can all be downloaded on Chromebooks, so you have to be careful. Just because it’s a school-issued Chromebook doesn’t mean your child is always doing school-issued stuff.
Trooper Corlett says chat apps like Discord and Kik Messenger are just as dangerous as games and while young children love to create what they think are harmless videos on the popular Zoomerang app and upload them to sites like Tik Tok, she says they could tell predators exactly how to find them.
“People who commit acts against children and see where they posted the last video and even if it’s outside and they know the neighborhood, they can say oh that looks like McDonald’s in Lansing, so you have to be careful even with stuff like this even of you haven’t turned on your location services.
So no matter how many safety measures you think you have in place, she says it’s important to sit and play with your child and see what they’re doing online and have some real ones. conversations with your kids before they pick up a device. to log in.