When the Moshi Monster(s) is real
London - British police are warning primary school pupils about chatting online amid fears that paedophiles are targeting children on websites such as Moshi Monsters and Club Penguin.
Bedfordshire Police is sending officers into more than 300 schools to raise awareness about online imposters after parents highlighted possible “grooming” incidents.
One mother told police that her son was directed away from Club Penguin into a private chatroom by another user and was asked questions about “colours of underwear”.
On Club Penguin, which is aimed at six to 12-year-olds, messages between visitors are screened by 200 moderators to block “inappropriate” words.
Moshi Monsters, which is targeted at the same age group, does not allow private communication, but parents complain that some users still ask for children’s details on public forums on the site.
One worried parent who logged on to Moshi Monsters posing as her son said someone on the site had a sexually suggestive username and “a number of children were communicating with this person and he was discussing sex”.
Although she reported the incident immediately, it took 17 hours to delete the communication.
Moshi Monsters’ chief safety officer Rebecca Newton said: “We track every message and user so we can investigate and deal with any issues as quickly and efficiently as possible.”
A Club Penguin spokeswoman said: “We continue to invest heavily in people and technology to ensure that our site remains a safe and fun environment.”
Detective Sergeant Keith Watts of Bedfordshire Police said: “Everything on the internet is there to be exploited by certain individuals.” - Daily Mail