Online games make kids easy targets for predators, police say - FOX 13 News

Online games make kids easy targets for predators, detectives say

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TAMPA (FOX 13) -

All it takes is a connection to the internet and a newer video game system, like an XBOX360 or Playstation 3, and gamers can connect with each other all over the globe.

"Predators are anywhere the internet is at," said Detective Christopher Heaverin with HCSO.

Detective Heaverin works in the Internet Predator Unit. When most of us think of creeps online, we think of tend to think of online chat rooms.

And while that's still a problem, the popularity of online gaming has created an entirely new place where adults can try to link up with kids.

"In a gaming site they're guard's down," he said.

"Nine times out of 10 it migrates from the gaming station to a laptop or a smartphone," he said.

Tuesday Tampa police arrested 36 year Tony McLeod, accused of meeting and luring a 14-year-old boy from California over the Playstation network.

It's a clear example of why experts say parents need to monitor their kids gaming, and keep an open line of communication.

Detectives urge parents to think of gaming systems like computers, because they basically are. Later this year, both the new Playstation 4 and XBOX One will be released. Both tout even more advanced social networking.

Which for predators could mean a more advanced playground.

"The easiest place to startup conversation with young kids is in a gaming room," the detective said.

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