Monday 26 September 2016

One in Four warns of threat to children from Pokemon Go 'players'

Published 20/08/2016 | 02:30

Pokémon Go sees players 'capture' fictitious characters using their mobile phone apps in real-life settings like local landmarks and community centres
Pokémon Go sees players 'capture' fictitious characters using their mobile phone apps in real-life settings like local landmarks and community centres

The Pokemon Go craze provides a perfect cover for predatory paedophiles, the sex abuse charity One in Four has warned.

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The widely popular computer game sees players 'capture' fictitious characters using their mobile phone apps in real-life settings like local landmarks and community centres.

One in Four clinical director Eileen Finnegan said it could provide the perfect cover for paedophiles to film children.

Unsuspecting children and their parents could fail to differentiate between a legitimate "gamer" and a lurking predator who is using the game, Ms Finnegan told the Irish Independent.

"If they're going around with Pokemon Go, you may get people who are predisposed to paedophilia seeing it as a prime opportunity," she said.

While it's unlikely a predator would abduct a child with other legitimate players present, she said the game could allow predators an opportunity to get close to children in order to film them or fantasise about them, she said.

A childcare centre in the US was forced to remove itself as a Pokemon Go 'hotspot' last week after receiving complaints about strangers lurking around outside.

The National Day Nurseries Association in the UK also raised similar concerns this week.

"It could also create a reason for unsavoury characters to hang around with phone cameras at the ready," said a spokesperson.

Dónall Geoghegan, of Early Childhood Ireland, said there have been no concerns raised to date over the game from its 3,500 members.

But he urged parents to be vigilant when their children are in public and monitor their use of computer games.

Irish Independent

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