A mother-of-two said she had a “sick feeling in her stomach” after hearing a man appear to be trying to groom her son via an in-game chat on his Xbox.
The Liverpool mum said her 12-year-old son was playing the online youth game Fortnite when a man started asking him to send nude pictures.
She claimed he offered the boy £50 for a sex session and also told him to “die hard”.
The mother, who recorded the disturbing interaction, said she was watching soap operas in her bedroom when she heard the “disgusting” questions coming from her son’s room.
A mother-of-two said she had a “sick feeling in her stomach” after hearing a man try to groom her son via an in-game chat on his Xbox
“I had a bad stomach, it was absolutely disgusting,” she said Liverpool Echo in 2018.
“I ran in and told my son to tell him (the other player) he was 12 and ask him, ‘Doesn’t he think it’s gross talking to a 12-year-old like that?’
“And he said no — he didn’t care.”
“That’s when I just lost it.” “I lost my temper and then told my son to get out of the game and called the police.”
The mother, whose name cannot be released for legal reasons, said her son thought the man was a friend of his after adding him under a username.
Regarding the 2018 incident, she said: “He goes online with his friends via Xbox.”
“When this man contacted him, he wasn’t sure if it was one of his friends as they all had strange usernames.”
“But when he asked him for nude photos, he knew what to do and took him out of the game.
“I asked him to invite him back so I can ask him what he said so I can record it and send it to the police.”
The first game was released in 2017 and is now available in three different game mode versions. It is very popular mainly due to the fact that it is free to use
Many Fortnite players choose to use a headset to communicate and coordinate with their teammates
The mother said her son was afraid to play the game after what happened. She said: “He’s scared to start it again now and to be honest I don’t want him to play along either.”
The game contains “cartoon violence” and is only suitable for persons over 12 years of age. It is available for PC, Mac, PlayStation and XBox.
It’s free to play and attracts millions of players who can choose to play in teams or alone against 99 other players.
Many players choose to wear a headset to communicate and coordinate with other players.
She said it was “heartbreaking” to see her son deviate from the game and said he usually enjoys interacting with his friends on his Xbox after school.
She added: “He was up during the night and even walking to school this morning he was worried because he didn’t know who this man was and why he had added him.”
“He’s only 12 and just learning about sex education and stuff like that.”
The mother, who also has a young daughter, said: “My daughter also heard what was being said, was very nervous about the police coming and didn’t know what was going on.”
“There’s also a camera on the Xbox that I’ll take off if he uses it again in time, but honestly I don’t know if I can trust it.”
“I’ve had some nasty comments from people saying I’m a bad mom for leaving my son on Xbox Live, but that’s a no-brainer and you wouldn’t expect that to happen.”
The mum said her son doesn’t play games that are over his age limit and she is “always close to him” when he’s playing so she can see what he’s doing.
She added: “No adult should be present at a child’s game, this man obviously wasn’t there to play it, he just wanted to talk to children.”
“All I would say is make sure you’re in a place where you can hear what’s going on when they’re online.”
In response to concerns raised by many parents, a National Criminal Investigation Agency A spokesman issued a warning via Twitter back in 2018. It said, “Fortnite is hugely popular with kids and teens across the country.”
Responding to many parents’ concerns, an NCA spokesperson said in 2018, “Fortnite is extremely popular with children and young people across the country.”
“It has voice and text chat that cannot be turned off. It is therefore important that parents and teachers understand that there are greater risks associated with the game and enable safe play.”
more recently, the mirror reported that a London mother overheard a man trying to groom her son through his Xbox.
According to the mother-of-two, she overheard an anonymous man telling her son to put his headset on and asking him, “Do you know what sex is?”
The mother said, “The tone of that person’s voice was awful,” adding that she immediately broke off the interaction, but it “could have been a lot worse.”
She warned parents and urged them to turn off the sound completely to protect their children.
Educating parents about the risk of online grooming Safety adviser Lorna Ponambalum told MailOnline: “Groomers often create profiles pretending to be children or young people so they can try to use compliments to build a trusting relationship with children who are online play.”
To best protect their children, Lorna advised parents to monitor what games they play and for how long.
She said parents should look at the game’s rating on the Pan European Gaming Information website and take into account the level of violence and features like online chat that the game offers.
Lorna added: “Parents should show interest and talk to their children about the games they play.” Maybe even play the games with them.
“Show them where to go for help if they’re feeling unsafe, and encourage them to talk to you or a trusted adult if they’re concerned.”
The NSPCC also provides parents with in-depth advice on how to keep their children safe online and how to spot grooming.
It said a child is “unlikely” to learn they’ve been cared for, may be worried and confused, and “less likely to talk to an adult they trust.”
It is all the more important for parents to pay attention to the following warning signs:
- They are very secretive about how they spend their time, even when they are online
- Have an older boyfriend or girlfriend
- Having money or new things like clothes and mobile phones that they cannot or do not want to explain
- Underage alcohol use or drug use
- They spend more or less time online or on their devices
- Being angry, withdrawn, or distressed
- Sexualized behavior, language, or age-inappropriate understanding of sex
- Spend more time away from home or be missed for a longer period of time.
WHAT IS FORTNITE? The free game launched in 2017 and has taken the world by storm
Fortnite is a game that originally came out as a floppy disk in July 2017 and was then converted into a free downloadable game in September by its developer Epic Games.
There are three forms of the game: Battle Royale, Save The World, and Playground.
Save the World is the original form of the game and is currently not playable as part of the free download play, but is available as part of an extra £30 ($40) fee.
It is a co-op mode with a story that can be played alone or online with friends.
Fortnite is a battle royale style survival shooter where players create a superhero avatar and compete on a dystopian island
Users compete in teams of up to three people to complete various missions.
The game is rumored to be added to the free-to-play version of the game in the future.
While Save The World is the original version of the game, its sister mode is by far the most popular.
Battle Royale is a survival game where players create a superhero avatar and compete against each other on a dystopian island.
Each game, or “match” as each competition is called, begins with 100 players.
The aim of the game is to be the last one left. Users can form alliances and play in small groups.
To make this and the interactive experience possible, the game allows for completely open communication between players.
Inspired by the Hunger Games novels and films, players seek weapons to help them survive.
Featuring quirky weapons and amusing dances, the game has taken over the gaming world and is delighting kids.
While there is no exact number on how many kids are playing Fortnite, the game has attracted an audience of over 125 million players so far.
The latest addition to the game, Playground is a no-consequence mode with more loot and unlimited respawns, giving players the chance to get creative.
These were groups of up to four people working as a team, and players could hone their skills before entering Battle Royale, where they would face better players.