Protect your kids from Playstation, Xbox predators - CBS46 News

Protect your kids from Playstation, Xbox predators

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These days, video games you play on your TV are becoming their own category of social media, and parents need to pay just as much attention to those as they would to Facebook or SnapChat.

In Downtown Lithonia, there's an arcade that doesn't have a pinball machine. Gamer's Experience is strictly a 21st century operation, made up only of console games like PlayStation and Xbox.

Walter Smith runs the place, and he's pretty much seen it all.

"Unfortunately, the predators will always find a way."

It only took him about ten seconds of searching through past messages on his machines to find examples of when strangers have written to people playing on them. Just like when you get e-mail spam, it's usually someone with an end game of getting money out of you.

"Saying hi, hey you, whacha doing, thing's like that..."

"Hey sweetie,"

"Hun are you around?"

The dead giveaways are the strangers message you out of the blue, come on strong from the beginning, and have very minimal information and activity in their profiles.

Smith showed us how PlayStation or Xbox randomly puts strangers together in a game, there is a permanent record of the players you competed against, and any of them can go back to later to contact the people they played.

You can also connect your traditional social media pages to the game network, and strangers can find out a lot about you quickly.

Most unwanted messages are easy to spot, but police say the man from Illinois who used PlayStation to kidnap a child from Florida put a lot of work into his charade.

He somehow convinced her that he was also a young girl, even when they spoke by headset.

"You can simply unplug the headphone and hear the conversation," explained Smith.

He suggests protective parents should listen in on what's being said during the games, and really educate themselves on the game systems their children play, especially how to look up friends and past messages.

Both PlayStation and Xbox have parental controls. You can the links to PlayStation's guide here and Xbox here.

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