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Online predators’ latest hunting ground: video games

08/16/2019 3:39 pm ET
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Photo: jusuf111/Pixabay

Online predators will “go where the kids are,” and right now 28 percent of all gamers in the U.S. are under 18.

There is “an increase in sextortion through online games,” says Shannon Martucci, a child and adolescent forensic specialist who works closely with the FBI to combat online predators.

An undercover investigation last year led to 24 predators using Fortnite and Minecraft to lure and groom minors for sex. Platforms like these have “made it much, much easier for predators to go online and target our kids,” explains FBI special agent Kevin Kaufman.

So now game companies like Roblox are taking extra measures to protect young players. They look for players who try to lure other players off-platform, says Remy Malan, the company’s vp trust and safety. Chats also don’t allow users to share personal information.

Roughly 211 million Americans play video games, according to a 2018 NPD report.

More at The Hollywood Reporter

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