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Sunday 24 February 2019

Mother tells how son (8) was contacted via his Xbox over nude photos

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Conor McCrave

Conor McCrave

A mother whose eight-year-old son was coerced into sending naked images to a stranger online has warned of the dangers of social media platforms and online chatrooms.

The young mother-of-one, who spoke out on the condition of anonymity, said her child was contacted on the Xbox console and later encouraged to set up an account on the Snapchat photo-messaging app.

The messages were alleged to have been from a young girl who originally wanted to play games online before he began receiving explicit images of "a few different girls".

"It all happened so quickly, I had only checked his iPad and his Xbox that morning and then at four o'clock that day the messages started," she said. "It went from 'her' trying to be his friend and play games online with him to asking derogatory questions in a matter of a day."

The online stranger had discovered the young boy from a 'suggested friends' list after they had already befriended two other young boys from the same school online.

"My boy is eight so he was too afraid of telling me and thought he'd get in trouble. This person told him that if he said anything he would get in trouble.

"It was filthy language they were using but they were asking him for naked pictures and when he was saying no they were saying 'go on'.

"Then they were saying 'if we play a certain amount of games and we win, you have to do it'.

"I'd seen articles about kids being contacted, especially through the game he was playing, but it was still a smack in the face because I was always so careful.

"We took it to gardaí and now they're working on locating the person," she added.

"I started getting in touch with the school and spreading awareness of this so they knew that something had happened," she said.

"I had already had this conversation about this stuff so many times before this happened and we've always been having this conversation, so that was the real worrying thing about it."

Irish Independent

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