Texas Attorney General Warns Parents About Video Game Risks

June 10, 2009 -

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott (R) warns parents about a variety of potential threats which he says video games pose to children in an editorial for the Hill Country Times.

Abbott, GamePolitics readers may recall, sued GamesRadar in 2007 for allegedly failing to adequately protect the privacy and safety of children who frequent the website. Abbott later withdrew the suit after GameRadar's parent company, Future, Inc., agreed to make appropriate changes.

While online game predators are the primary focus of his editorial, Abbott also reminds parents about parental control features built into console systems as well as the use of ESRB ratings. The A.G. previously partnered with the ESRB on a 2007 campaign to raise awareness of the video game industry's content rating system. In today's editorial Abbott writes:

When we were young, our parents warned us not to talk to strangers... Today, children are more likely to frequent a digital playground that can be even more dangerous. For example, many game systems have evolved dramatically and now have many of the same capabilities as home computers. In particular, these games’ online interfaces allow users to interact with each other using text, voice or even video chat. Parents should beware of the potential for child predators to use these systems to prey upon and contact their children...

 

Parents should also consider participating in their children’s game-playing activities. Hand-held gaming devices also pose potential risks to children. Many of these devices have wireless-communication capabilities and are popular among kids who use them to communicate with others who are within range, usually about 30 feet. Child predators may be able to exploit this feature in certain public settings...


Comments

Re: Texas Attorney General Warns Parents About Video Game ...

We need more people like this who are willing to acknowledge video games rather than dismiss them as childish or wastes of time.

Re: Texas Attorney General Warns Parents About Video Game ...

I can just say that parents should use the "Don't talk to strangers" line and use it in the online world as... such as

"People who you talk to online should only just be online friends. Until you get older and you are able to look after yourself THAT is when you can visit your online friends if they have known you for a long time in the online world."

That is what I am thinking of telling my kids one day, because there are allot of great people I have met online but I only know them as online friends.

Plus there is also another rule of thumb that I have that says...

"Don't use your real name online, or else school bullies in your real life can use that to their advantage."

Because I have a feeling that school bullies could use the online world to taunt their real victims at their local schools, all because the vicim used their real name online, an honest mistake too.

 

TBoneTony

Re: Texas Attorney General Warns Parents About Video Game ...

Why I see so much news about that?

 

There are THAT much pervs in your country?

 

criadordejogos.wordpress.com

--- Maurício Gomes twitter.com/agfgames

Re: Texas Attorney General Warns Parents About Video Game ...

Ah, you guys have fallen for politicking. That's why you should really think hard about what you're reading because it SOUNDS so sensible, but it's really not. I mean sure, his advice isn't going to really hurt anyone, but it's fearmongering at it's worst.

The internet is far safer in regards to sexual predators than the real world. After all, you can't physically sexually assault someone over an internet connection. I refer you to the two links Adrian Lopez posted for more in depth findings on online sexual predators.

This culture of fear in the western world has really had an impact on kids being kids. No longer can you go down to the park with friends from your street because heavens, there might be a predator there! You can't play in the dirt or climb trees because you might get germs or be injured. Now we have people like this guy, spreading more irrational fear about online interactions, so now kids can't play online games with their friends because good lord, what if a paedophile is on them internets!

Re: Texas Attorney General Warns Parents About Video Game ...

I completely agree with you on this one.

It is one thing informing parents what to be aware of.

But it is another thing to tell parents what to do.

This FEAR of the online world is not doing anything good about helping parents get to know something that they have no idea about.

And in the end, kids are only going to be running away from their homes all because of the fear of the online world that their parents are being brainwashed with.

I think that is also what might have lead to the death of "you know who" last year and online games  plus Videogame Addiction were being blamed for it.

Politicians don't know anything about the online world except for all the bad things they can easily exploit to gain political votes, so they are not the ones to even be talking to parents about it because they don't understand the good things about it.

You need a young adult, someone in their mid 20s or even 30s to talk to the parents via TV who has had more experience with the internet.

 

Also online life is not as bad a real life, because in real life you can also be hurt just the same.

TBoneTony

Re: Texas Attorney General Warns Parents About Video Game ...

"When we were young, our parents warned us not to talk to strangers... Today, children are more likely to frequent a digital playground that can be even more dangerous."

Really? I mean... really?

Aside from the fact that "don't talk to strangers" is, for the most part, not very good advice, the idea that children are more at risk in a "digital playground" than out in the open is pretty ridiculous. As long as you teach your children not to give out their physical location online, a "digital playground" cannot possibly be more dangerous than a real playground -- although neither of them is particularly dangerous.

This is just more political fear mongering by another spotlight-seeking AG.

Re: Texas Attorney General Warns Parents About Video Game ...

what he says is true, lots of sick people online.

Re: Texas Attorney General Warns Parents About Video Game ...

Based on the excerpts, he doesn't sound too bad. Nowhere near what I was expecting. Though I'm not sure how practical it would be for a predator to try and use local wireless communication like the DS's pictochat.

EDIT: Just read the complete article. Still not sure about the local wireless being much use to predators, but the rest of what the guy says seems fairly sensible.

Re: Texas Attorney General Warns Parents About Video Game ...

The DS can't even be used to communicate with strangers. You have to have shared friend codes in order to talk to other people with a DS. There is no way a kid can meet a stranger solely through the DS.

E. Zachary Knight
Oklahoma City Chapter of the ECA
http://www.theeca.com/chapters_oklahoma

Re: Texas Attorney General Warns Parents About Video Game ...

at least over the internet

岩「…Where do masochists go when they die?」

岩「…I can see why Hasselbeck's worried about fake guns killing fake people. afterall, she's a fake journalist on a fake news channel」

Re: Texas Attorney General Warns Parents About Video Game ...

Yah, as far as I know the local wireless ap PictoChat doesn't need you to exchange friends codes... but it only has a range of like 30 feet.

Re: Texas Attorney General Warns Parents About Video Game ...

As easy as it is to be cynical about this, what he says is infact true. It could apply to any medium really, I mean IM on computers is equally dangerous.

 

Re: Texas Attorney General Warns Parents About Video Game ...

Well done, because internetz must be totally a safe place for children. Screw freedom of speech for adults, kids must be safe.

The cynical side of videogames (spanish only): http://thelostlevel.blogspot.com/ My DeviantArt Page (aka DeviantCensorship): http://www.darkknightstrikes.deviantart.com/

Re: Texas Attorney General Warns Parents About Video Game ...

Not sure what the problem here is.  Judging from the excerpts, he has three main points:

1) There are bad people out there who prey on children.  This is undeniably true.

2) They can reach said children through online and wireless gaming systems.  This is also undeniably true.

3) Parents should therefore be aware of what their children are doing with gaming systems.  This is less of an absolute fact, but few people would argue against it.

Re: Texas Attorney General Warns Parents About Video Game ...

"1) There are bad people out there who prey on children.  This is undeniably true."

The threat of online predators is largely overblown.

"2) They can reach said children through online and wireless gaming systems."

There's plenty of other places where predators can reach them. Online, however, they can't physically touch them -- so they can only "reach" them with words. The real world is actually riskier than the online world, and even those risks are generally overblown.

"3) Parents should therefore be aware of what their children are doing with gaming systems."

I should hope so.

Re: Texas Attorney General Warns Parents About Video Game ...

 "The threat of online predators is largely overblown."

Overblown =/= it does not exists, so therefore the statement is still true

 

"There's plenty of other places where predators can reach them... The real world is actually riskier than the online world, and even those risks are generally overblown."

and parents should look out for those places TOO... NOT an excuse to ignore the internet.

 

"Online, however, they can't physically touch them -- so they can only "reach" them with words."

Until a predator sends the kid a "We're good friends, meet me at X" message... Which is pretty much how these things happen.

Re: Texas Attorney General Warns Parents About Video Game ...

The danger might be overblown, but it's still there.

More importantly, the AG isn't trying to fight this by restricting the ability of adults to communicate over the Xbox and other systems, like Rodrigo was implying, but taking the much more sensible approach of advising parents to actually parent.

Re: Texas Attorney General Warns Parents About Video Game ...

"The danger might be overblown, but it's still there."

No it isn't.  It's ridiculous to even suggest that it's there.  I mean, even if the victim is at all recognizable (many people adopt a fictitious personality when in an online game), in order for game stalking to even be a remote threat, an online stalker would have to be willing to travel thousands of miles to meet up with his victim ('cos in an online game you have no idea where players are located).  So this stalker would have to pay travel costs and when he got to his teenaged girl victim he's more than likely going to find she's a 50 year old balding man.

Why bother with internet stalking when there's a school within walking distance?

 
Forgot your password?
Username :
Password :

Shout box

You're not permitted to post shouts.
ZippyDSMleePaypal shuts down Mega's payment system. https://torrentfreak.com/under-u-s-pressure-paypal-nukes-mega-for-encrypting-files-150227/03/01/2015 - 3:25pm
Matthew Wilsonvalvle planning to release a vr headset this year wtf http://www.pcgamer.com/valves-vr-headset-is-named-vive-and-htc-are-making-it/03/01/2015 - 1:05pm
ZippyDSMleeuuuhhhggg in other news been sick since last night.....uuhggg.....I iwsh it did not hurt so much when my tummy wants to leave my body..02/28/2015 - 11:39pm
ZippyDSMleeBrings me to the Q why alt costumes would be needed in competition anyway... http://www.eventhubs.com/news/2015/feb/28/dead-or-alive-community-aims-ban-over-120-overly-sexualized-costumes-dead-or-alive-5-last-round/02/28/2015 - 11:36pm
MonteThough from a business side, i would agree with the article. While it would be smarter for developers to slow down, you can't expect EA, Activision or ubisoft to do something like that. Nintnedo's gotta get the third party back.02/28/2015 - 4:36pm
MonteThough it does also help that nintendo's more colorful style is a lot less reliant on graphics than more realistic games. Wind Waker is over 10 years old and still looks good for its age.02/28/2015 - 4:33pm
MonteWith the Wii, nintnedo had the right idea. Hold back on shiny graphics and focus on the gameplay experience. Unfortunatly everyone else keeps pushing for newer graphics and it matters less and less each generation. I can barely notice the difference02/28/2015 - 4:29pm
MonteON third party developers; i kinda think they should slow down to nintendo's pace. They bemoan the rising costs of AAA gaming, but then constantly push for the best graphics which is makes up a lot of those costs. Be easier to afford if they held back02/28/2015 - 4:27pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.forbes.com/sites/insertcoin/2015/02/28/the-world-is-nintendos-if-only-theyd-take-it/ I think this is a interesting op-ed, but yeah it kind of is stating the obvious.02/28/2015 - 2:52pm
prh99The government probably doesn't need an app, but I was think more along the lines of a company that was going to sell the collected info. “If you're not paying for the product, you are the product” sometimes even if you pay.02/28/2015 - 1:50pm
E. Zachary KnightWhat better way for the government to keep track of you than to get you to install an app that lets you insult the government.02/28/2015 - 11:03am
prh99No, but I looked it up and it's basically spyware. Their privacy policy says their apps tracks among other things your location and browsing habits via cookies.02/28/2015 - 8:20am
Ryan RardinHas anyone here heard of an app called iCitizen? It's basically Yelp for politicians.02/28/2015 - 5:16am
Andrew EisenAh, not linked in the way you (and everyone else) want and expect. That's true.02/27/2015 - 10:06pm
Matthew Wilsonthey are not linked in a way that tracks purchases though. the fact that they have to send a code for the other system shows that they are not linked in the way it counts.02/27/2015 - 9:39pm
Andrew EisenAccounts are already linked. Have been for quite a while. Also, Mario vs. Donkey Kong was announced as a cross-buy title during last January's Nintendo Direct.02/27/2015 - 9:25pm
Matthew Wilsonhttp://www.vg247.com/20…/…/27/olli-olli-3ds-wii-u-cross-buy/ I wounder if this is a sign that Nintendo may finally link accounts across the 3ds/wiiu in the near future.02/27/2015 - 9:18pm
prh99http://www.romanoriginals.co.uk/invt/70931?colour=Blue The dress does comes in white and blue but both have black lace and a sheer back top, I don't see gold or brown. 02/27/2015 - 8:54pm
ZippyDSMleeDungeons was a so bad so good game to me so I been keeping up with its sequel which will more of a Dungeon Keeper clone. As for pre order out of 7 preorders I was not burnt by 2... Add my contempt of most of modern game design.Ya I have all kinds of hurt.02/27/2015 - 8:40pm
MechaTama31I don't even want to know...02/27/2015 - 8:22pm
 

Be Heard - Contact Your Politician