Police are calling for parents to search the Xbox Live friend's lists of their children for the user name of self-professed furry and accused sexual predator Richard Kretovic.
Greece, New York police say the 19-year-old sexually abused an under 13-year-old in the basement of his house after the two met on a gaming site and struck up a friendship on Xbox Live. Kretovic's gamertag is Formic Hivemind.
Police say if you see the gamertag on your child's friend list you should contact them.
Police say Kretovic and the child he's accused of abusing met more than once and that they are investigating whether there were more victims.
Online gaming is increasingly a way for kids to communicate and play in this day and age, but please be aware of how and with whom your children game.
1. On your computer go to Xbox.com and sign in to your account.
2. Go to My Xbox and Family Center
3. Select your or your child's avatar and select Online Safety Settings.
4. Allow or block the options available. I allow my son to play online but block the ability to accept friend requests. I also only allow him to communicate with friends. I only allow friends to see his history, status and profile.
5. When a friend request for your child comes in, you will be asked to enter your Xbox Live password to authorise it.
All three game consoles have plenty of ways to protect your child from chatting with strangers. I use parental controls to limit the amount of time my nine-year-old son can play in a week, and I also don't allow him to chat with anyone who isn't on his friend's lists. Finally, I have to authorise the addition of any new friends to that list with a password. Before I do that I make sure that I've met the new friend, in person, before authorising that addition.
It take a few extra minutes, and sometimes drives my son nuts, but the end result is safe online gaming for my son. It also spares an Internet of strangers any juvenile tirades he might be goaded into if he had unfettered access to services like Xbox Live and the Playstation Network.