Belfast Telegraph

Police Xbox warning over 'inappropriate request' to Belfast child

By Michael Sheils McNamee

The PSNI has warned parents to be vigilant about their children's online gaming activity after a child in Belfast received an "inappropriate message and request" through Xbox Live.

The PSNI in south Belfast district said they had dealt with the incident after the child alerted their parents, and it was then reported to police.

Tens of millions of young people now participate in online gaming, which also offers many other services such as social media on a range of different games consoles and PCs.

"Police would like to remind parents to be vigilant in relation to their children's gaming consoles and any other online gaming on smartphones and tablets and such," a spokesperson said.

"Thankfully the child alerted their parent and the conversation was swiftly stopped and reported to PSNI.

"Don't be afraid to speak with your children about these issues. These types of messages can be received on all gaming consoles with internet access such as Xbox, PlayStation or Nintendo.

"Advise your children never to give away personal details to strangers."

The NSPCC has urged parents to talk to their children about online safety regularly.

A spokeswoman said: "Children should be as safe online as they are offline.

"We have found that parents talking with their sons and daughters about what they are doing and viewing online from a young age and on a regular basis is the best way to keep them safe.

"If parents aren't sure how to start these conversations there are lots of online tools on the NSPCC website to give them the knowledge and confidence to talk about what can be a daunting topic.

"We would also urge anyone with any concerns about a child to contact the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000."

Anyone who experiences similar issues is asked to contact police on the non-emergency number 101, or on 999 in an emergency.

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