A Sheffield mum aims to improve game safety after her daughter was sent a disturbing message by a stranger.
Rachel Harrison said nine-year-old Jenna started crying and was too scared to sleep after someone tried to find out her name, age and school through the online chat facility of computer game MovieStarPlanet, while Jenna spoke to school friends.
The stranger – who had created a profile with a similar name to Jenna – was still able to send the message, despite not being ‘friends’ with the schoolgirl.
They had written ‘Hey babe, I’m a mind reader.
“I bet I can tell you your name, your age and the school you go to.”
Nail technician Rachel, of Frecheville, issued a warning to other parents to check the games their children play on.
She said: “As a mum it was so very scary, I didn’t sleep all night.
“I am going to make it my mission that every children’s computer game has facilities so a stranger can’t contact children directly.
“It just seems ludicrous with all the grooming that has been highlighted recently that this isn’t already in place, when it is on websites like Twitter for adults – it’s mind-blowing.
“I am determined to do something about it.
“Unless people say something, the games will not change their operations.”
Jenna rejected the friend request after learning about internet safety.
Rachel contacted police and the game makers, who told her the other user had been blocked.
A spokesman for MovieStarPlanet, based in Denmark, said the child safety and protection was of ‘paramount concern’.
Numerous safeguarding methods, including trained moderators, language filtering systems and user feedback are employed, and the firm co-operates with law enforcement agencies.
Parents are also given advice and encouraged to participate in their child’s online activities.