Authorities said the case is a good reminder for parents that there are people preying on your children and to be extra vigilant.
“We encourage parents to go through [the] friend list and not let them follow. If you don’t know them, it could be a stranger. It could be anything from Fortnite to even Words with Friends — you can connect with someone in a chat. There seems to be messaging or chat in most of the games that are out there. We would want parents to talk to their kids about the dangers and have a look at their phones once in a while,” investigator Mike Gansey said.
Investigators say the men have been trying to lure kids in chat rooms and games sites and other popular places kids like to hang out online.
“It’s like shooting fish in a barrel. There are so many predators out there, whether it’s online, in parks, with the online applications and websites, it is so easy for an adult to get in contact with a child. Call me a pessimist, it’s never going to be completely safe for kids to be on their devices. There are so many of them out there that children are constantly being barraged with this sort of thing. Questions [include]: What’s your name? What are you wearing? Have you ever had sex before? You’re so cute, you’re so pretty, what do you like to do with a guy, do you mind older? It’s just constant,” Hines said.
Tips for parents are available online.