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Bel Air Area Police: More Predators Video Gaming

Police say there is a growing trend in sexual predators seeking out young people through online video games.

A in connection with an illegal sexual relationship with a 16-year-old Florida boy she met while playing video games online—and police say the scenario is not uncommon.

The case is the second to impact the area within the past two years.

In January 2011, with rape in connection with a sexual relationship with a 13-year-old Bel Air boy, whom she met playing Xbox Live. The woman, who was 36 at the time the charges were filed, later to second-degree rape.

"We typically think of men as the predator," said Trooper Michelle Workman, who is assigned to the Harford County Child Advocacy Center. "This [case] is just a little bit different."

Workman said online video games are used by both men and women for soliciting children and teens.

Investigators of crimes against children are seeing a growing number of cases involving online video games, and the reason for this is two-fold, she said: "I think that the problem is growing and I also think it’s being reported more as well."

Workman said parents should be remember that many video games also involve Internet access and recommended that games played on in a family area so they are easier to monitor.

"Monitor their computer games, cell phone use," Workman said. "Check Internet history."

Workman said the case involving  allegedly involved contact through Skype and a video game, but not over the telephone. Carroll later allegedly met the boy in person in Florida on two occasions.

Workman urged parents to watch for warning signs in their children such as, "excessive use of any video game or a kid's desire for an inordinate amount of privacy."

Ashley April 17, 2012 at 06:09 PM
This is no different than when AOL chatrooms we're a thing. The responsibility of monitoring children who are online (in any aspect) relies on the parents. Just about everything has some type of parental control on it. Xbox definitely does, computers do, cable channels, etc. Fact is that parents don't really watch their kids and what they're doing. I'm not saying stick your kid in a bubble, but you should know what your kids are doing online and who exactly is on their friends list.
Hulkster April 17, 2012 at 06:53 PM
Spot on Ashley. "Monitor their computer games, cell phone use," Workman said. "Check Internet history." In other words, please parent your children.
Susan April 18, 2012 at 10:32 AM
While I think kids thirteen and younger should be monitored, I don't know if I believe in tracking cellphone use and internet history. To me that's like reading your kid's diary. If a kid feels betrayed, he or she may be even more inclined to break rules and take risks. All that being said, I do think parents should have conversations with their kids about their activity. If Johnny can't tell you what he was doing or who he was speaking with, then there may be a problem.

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