Parents long have heeded warnings about Internet predators, but one form of technology that’s moved online is providing some virtual offenders another way to hunt victims and perpetrate crimes.
Video game systems that allow players to connect with other users via the Internet — like Xbox Live and Playstation Network — have grown increasingly popular. But with that shift has come the additional risk that predators and other online offenders will employ the game systems for criminal activity, according to authorities in Iowa and in the Eastern Iowa corridor.
In his experience studying the dangers of online predators, Notre Dame University professor Chad Harms said he’s seen video game systems fly under parental radars.
“Parents assume it’s a more safe space,” said Harms, who was an Iowa State University professor before moving to Notre Dame in 2010. “They think (their children) are just playing a video game and are focused on the game. But that might not be the goal of the people interacting with them.
“The majority of the negative will come in the form of people trying to solicit information from people in an attempt to profit from that.”