It has been brought to our attention that there have been some instances across the country of adults misusing the game MovieStarPlanet. The Yorkshire Post’s website posted this article earlier this week:
A MOTHER today said her nine-year-old daughter had received “disturbing messages” from a stranger who asked her personal questions, after playing an online children’s game.
Rachel Harrison said her daughter Jenna started crying and was too scared to sleep after someone began targeting her through the online chat facility of the computer game MovieStarPlanet.
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’.
Ms Harrison, a nail technician from Sheffield, criticised the programmers for allowing strangers to make contact with children when adult social networks like Twitter do not allow it.
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”.
It said numerous safeguarding methods, including trained moderators, language filtering systems and user feedback were employed, and the firm co-operated with law enforcement agencies.
Parents were also given advice and encouraged to participate in their child’s online activities, it added.
Like all games with a social element, there is potential for people to misuse the system. We always encourage parents to be involved with their child’s online activities and be aware of the type of games they are playing. We teach children only to add friends they know and report anything suspicious to parents or a trusted adult.
If you would like more advice about E-Safety, please visit our dedicated page for parents on this matter.