Schoolboy, six, receives series of sexual messages from online predator while playing Minecraft on his Xbox
- Father says boy was playing the game in his room in Middlesbrough
- Sent ‘sexually explicit comments by man in audio & written messages’
- Cleveland Police investigating after receiving a report from the father
A father warned other parents today of the dangers of children playing computer games online after sexual comments were made to his six-year-old son.
The boy was playing Minecraft on his Xbox in his room in Middlesbrough, when he was allegedly sent a series of sexually explicit comments by an unknown man in audio and written messages.
Cleveland Police were investigating what had happened today after receiving a report from the father. He cannot be named to protect the identity of his son, who has Asperger syndrome.
Game: The boy was playing Minecraft (above, file picture) on his Xbox in his Middlesbrough bedroom
The man, who is a carer for his son, said: ‘I’ve had people saying things to me about how he shouldn’t have been on Xbox Live by himself, and I hold my hands up that I made mistakes.
‘I didn’t even think you could use that for chat. I’ve now been taught how to make it safe and I’ll be doing that before he gets the Xbox back. I’m not ready for him to go back on it yet though.
‘I live on my own with my son so I can’t be with him 24 hours a day. I was downstairs tidying up and he was in his room for literally half an hour. He got all these messages in that half an hour.
‘The first message was sent at 6.22pm and the last at 6.52pm. I check on him all the time. I went upstairs and heard a man’s voice.
Console: The boy was sent sexually explicit comments by a man while playing on his Xbox (file picture)
ONLINE GAMES USED TO EXPLOIT CHILDREN BY PAEDOPHILES
- A 33-year-old man who called himself ‘Steve, a 34-year-old actor from Chester-le-Street’ befriended a 13-year-old boy in an online game of Xbox’s Call of Duty. Then, after five Skype link-ups, Stephen Quinnell asked the boy to perform a sex act in front of his web camera, Durham Crown Court heard in July. Quinnell was jailed for four years.
- A paedophile was jailed for eight years in August 2013 for using XBox Live, Facebook and Skype to groom boys for sex. Tristan Jackson, 23, of Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, would chat about gaming to initiate talking about sex
- A report in Canada in April 2013 found police had investigated seven cases of online predators luring children through consoles. And a CBC journalist signed up for PlayStation Home on the PlayStation 3, posing as a 13-year-old girl. Within minutes she was approached by individuals asking her sexually-explicit questions and for photographs
- Claire Marquis, 33, of Leigh-on-Sea, Essex, avoided jail after inciting a 14-year-old boy from Cheshire to commit a sex act by seducing him while playing a game on Xbox Live, pretending to be a single 25-year-old nurse – when she actually had a partner and two children
‘I knew something was wrong because my son came out of his room when he heard me coming up and told me not to go in, not to go on the game.
‘The comments were made by this person thinking he was talking to a little girl and they get more and more vile as they go on.
The father added: ‘He has Asperger’s so he doesn’t really understand the dangers. He thinks everyone’s his friend.
‘I have explained it to him and the police spoke to him as well. But he doesn’t understand. He’s really upset at the moment because his “friend” might go to jail.’
The father, who is a former security worker, said: ‘You never think these things will happen to you. I knew I was opening myself up to criticism by telling people about it but I thought it was important to warn other parents.’
A Cleveland Police spokesman confirmed the force had received a report and that inquiries were ongoing. She also directed parents to a section on the force’s website on safe surfing.
A Microsoft spokesman said: ‘At Microsoft, helping protect our Xbox Live members has always been a priority and we continually evaluate ways to manage safety for our more than 48 million Xbox Live members, particularly children on our service.
‘We provide parents with tools in the family settings on Xbox to protect their children, and urge them to review these settings on their children’s consoles.’
MINECRAFT: MORE THAN 2 BILLION HOURS PLAYED ON XBOX 360 IN 2 YEARS
Minecraft was created by Markus Persson in 2009, before releasing it widely in November 2011.
Players of the game, which is available on PC and Xbox can walk around different terrains, fly and build models using little pixelated blocks.
It’s the top online game on Xbox Live, with more than two billion hours played on Xbox 360 in the last two years – and almost 17 million copies sold in total.
In September, Microsoft snapped up Mr Persson’s company, Mojang – and the game – for an estimated £1.5billion. There is an annual Minecraft convention, Minecon, which is set to continue.
Minecraft: More than two billion hours on the game have been played on Xbox 360 in the last two years
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