COLUMBIA – An unknown adult male has been using the interactive Wii game “Animal Crossing: City Folk” to contact children ranging from ages 7 to 11, said detective Andy Anderson, the coordinator of Mid-Missouri Internet Crimes Task Force. Three girls from Missouri and one girl from California have been contacted.
Although Wii game users have just recently issued complaints, law enforcement agencies and the Mid-Missouri Internet Crimes Task Force have also received information on other cases where children are being inappropriately contacted through Internet-based programs.
“In my opinion, it is a consistent problem,” Anderson said.
The Mid-Missouri Internet Crimes Task Force has issued a reminder stating that all Internet-based games with instant messaging or voice-chat capabilities can be used by criminals to try and contact children.
Anderson said it is important for parents of young children to pay attention, because the children themselves are not aware of the risks involved with interactive Internet games.
Anderson said parental awareness is the best safeguard to prevent the continuation of this problem.
“Parents have to pay attention to what the kids are doing,” Anderson said.
Mid-Missouri Internet Crimes Task Force sent out a news release warning Internet game users about predators. Some of the gaming systems mentioned are Wii, X-Box, Play Station 3, Webkins, virtual rooms or games, interactive rooms or games and any other device that can be connected to the Internet.