Microsoft Offers Tips to Keep Kids Safe On Xbox Live

 Pages 1 2 NEXT
 

Microsoft Offers Tips to Keep Kids Safe On Xbox Live

image

After a sexual predator bypassed some parents' precautions to make Xbox Live safe for their child, Microsoft wants you to know all the available options you have.

Earlier this week, it was reported that a 22-year-old man had sexually victimized a 10-year-old boy through the use of Xbox Live. In case you missed the story, here's the short version: Timothy Hammerstone of Polk City, Florida, managed to convince a kid he was playing with to send him nude photos in exchange for Xbox Live credits. The police proceeded to bust him and (hopefully) he won't get out of jail for a long, long time.

Microsoft clearly wasn't thrilled with the news that someone managed to manipulate the system in order to commit such a heinous crime. While the parents of the boy in question apparently tried to safeguard their kid's online activities - since Hammerstone created a new Live account to circumvent the parents' watchful eye - the story could easily be twisted to make it look like Xbox Live is totally unsafe for children.

This, of course, is not the case. If you're a parent and want to make sure that your child isn't at risk for a situation like this, there are a number of controls that you should be aware of. A representative from Microsoft's Xbox PR team contacted The Escapist to offer some tips about how adults can keep their kids safe when they're using Live:

The Live settings do allow parents or guardians to block Xbox Live membership creation, which prevents users from signing up for a new Live account or recovering accounts on a console unless they have the "secret passcode" (parents own the master account with the passcode). Additionally, the technology allows parents to:

  • Block the visibility of a child account to online users (the child's gamertag cannot be seen by others).
  • Manage and approve a child's online "Friends List" (Friend requests come to the parent for approval).
  • Restrict or Block the use of the "Xbox LIVE Vision Cam" and the type of communications your child can engage in (like voice or video chat).
  • Block online access entirely.
  • Block specific online users.
  • Block videogames and movies based on ESRB and MPAA rating systems.
I thought your readers might benefit from this additional information so they can be empowered to take the necessary steps to create a safer gaming environment for their children. Parents can also find more information about Xbox 360 Family Settings on www.GetGameSmart.com.

It's good to see that Microsoft isn't just sitting on its haunches in the aftermath of this event and is working to make sure kids stay safe while they game online. Hopefully these tips will help prevent another situation like this from happening.

Permalink

This is good news but I can't help but not feel for the kid, his own fault really, when I was his age there was thousands of kid friendly websites telling us not to do these things

Microsoft shouldn't have to do a thing about this. Parents should KNOW to monitor their children. It's ridiculous that this even happened.

Can't really blame Microsoft, here. I'm willing to bet that he (the kid) DID know that sending nude photos to a stranger (or to anyone for that matter) might not be the smartest, or the most appropriate thing to do.

Just glad that he's safe.

A PR guy contacted the Escapist? Good thought, but useless considering most, if not all people here know how to use family settings on a console.

At 10 years old i knew not too get naked for strange men. Not for MSP anyway. The kid is basicaly a prostitute. His own fault.

The internet in general is unsafe for everyone.

Kinda like life.

dogstile:
A PR guy contacted the Escapist? Good thought, but useless considering most, if not all people here know how to use family settings on a console.

You'd be surprised. I have a number of non-gamer relatives with kids who don't know the first thing about parental settings. Besides, if this article keeps even one kid safe from something like what happened with Hammerstone, I consider it worthwhile.

I have to agree, it does seem to be the kid's/parents' fault that this was allowed to happen. Microsoft put everything in the hands of the parents to stop this from happening, and they didn't use it. Plus, at age 10, I knew getting naked for people wasn't something you should do.

No tips on how to keep me safe from the kids on Xbox Live who scream at everyone?

This is terrible, and I'm glad the sick bastard got caught. I feel bad for the family, but at least he never found where the kid lived. It's puzzling that his parents don't know how to protect their children online, and they should have monitored him while he was playing.

Owell, the world is messed up, and no one was physically harmed, so life goes on.

sorry for the caps in advance but I am pissed:

WHY DOES A 10 YEAR OLD HAVE XBL? are the parents fucking retarded?

This whole thing is the fault of a stupid kid with too many privileges. I mean, what kind of person is stupid enough to do that? Even at age 10.

I don't understand how the child got off with this, what he did essentially counts as the sale and distribution of child pornography (as in he was giving away nudes of himself in exchange for the credits). Children have been arrested for this before and for far less, for example 17 year old teens have been imprisoned for the distribution of child pornography because they have sent nudes of themselves to their girlfriend/boyfriend (Their parents would often check their phones, leading to this issue).

vansau:

dogstile:
A PR guy contacted the Escapist? Good thought, but useless considering most, if not all people here know how to use family settings on a console.

You'd be surprised. I have a number of non-gamer relatives with kids who don't know the first thing about parental settings. Besides, if this article keeps even one kid safe from something like what happened with Hammerstone, I consider it worthwhile.

You know if Microsoft sent this message to other gaming sites, such as sites meant for parents? If not, why not forward this article to them? More likely to help there then here.

Wow they should use this technology to block XBL chat for anyone under 15 so I don't have to listen to them when I'm playing online!

soapyshooter:
sorry for the caps in advance but I am pissed:

WHY DOES A 10 YEAR OLD HAVE XBL? are the parents fucking retarded?

To play Madden NFL 11 with his cousin in Denver? I dunno, just making something up.

I don't think it's XBL that's the problem any more than having internet access on the family PC is the problem. For starters, the kid deliberately went around some of the barriers his parents had set up to protect him.

Not G. Ivingname:

vansau:

dogstile:
A PR guy contacted the Escapist? Good thought, but useless considering most, if not all people here know how to use family settings on a console.

You'd be surprised. I have a number of non-gamer relatives with kids who don't know the first thing about parental settings. Besides, if this article keeps even one kid safe from something like what happened with Hammerstone, I consider it worthwhile.

You know if Microsoft sent this message to other gaming sites, such as sites meant for parents? If not, why not forward this article to them? More likely to help there then here.

Good question. I'll follow up with them in the morning and find out :)

arent PARENTS supossed to see what their kids are doing THE XBOX IST A NANNY!

vansau:

Not G. Ivingname:

vansau:

dogstile:
A PR guy contacted the Escapist? Good thought, but useless considering most, if not all people here know how to use family settings on a console.

You'd be surprised. I have a number of non-gamer relatives with kids who don't know the first thing about parental settings. Besides, if this article keeps even one kid safe from something like what happened with Hammerstone, I consider it worthwhile.

You know if Microsoft sent this message to other gaming sites, such as sites meant for parents? If not, why not forward this article to them? More likely to help there then here.

Good question. I'll follow up with them in the morning and find out :)

Good, let me know how that turns out.

I can appreciate this, but here's one tip to offer kids: Don't send people nude photo's of yourself.

Again, appreciate the PR guy contacting the site even though MS didn't have to do anything wrong.

I bet you those cops used a ps3 to catch that child predator

Wow, I must say I'm surprised and disappointed that there are so many in this thread who are blaming everyone but the bastard who wanted the nude pictures of the 10 year old boy.

Did the child make a mistake in doing what he did? Sure. Did he know it wasn't a good thing to do? Possibly, but if he did it's not beyond reason that he didn't think it was that big a deal or he figured it was worth the MS Points. That's not entirely his or his parent's fault though. If the predator didn't exist, the situation never would have come up in the first place. Also, his age isn't really an issue as you hear stories all the time about teens much older than him who send pictures of themselves to others with no thought about how it will impact them later on. It may be basic online safety and it may be common sense, but it happens all the time whether the person doing it knows better or not.

As for the parents not protecting him. It actually sounds like they did try, but just didn't drill down deep enough into the options. He did have to create a second account just to interact with this guy after all so obviously his main account was at least being monitored if not protected on some level. And the kid may have had Live for any number of reasons. MS doesn't seem to mind the kid having access seeing as how they have created all of these settings (and have a new Live family plan coming out soon).

So much is wrong with this situation but to simplify my thoughts I'm just going to write down the first thought in my head when I read the story.

"WHY DID THAT KID THINK SENDING NAKED PHOTOS TO ANYONE IS A GOOD IDEA!!!"

I knew about child predators at ten (thanks to a certain episode of smart guy) and I knew not to do this kind of stuff online. I'm not saying the kid deserves anywhere near as much blame as the actual predator but honestly this mess could have been avoided with some common sense.

P.S. Sorry for the caps but this situation calls for it.

Cliff_m85:
Microsoft shouldn't have to do a thing about this. Parents should KNOW to monitor their children. It's ridiculous that this even happened.

I couldn't have said it any better.

Retard parents is the root of the problem here. The stupidity leaks into the next generation. The result is online sex predator cases.

Here's the thing, more parents watch news programs and buy more newspapers than MS employees, therefore the media won't blame parents, they'll blame MS, and they sure don't see what mere 'facts' have to do with it.

Therefore MS have to do all they can to prove that they're on the problem, doing things about it.

Also, we didn't need an option to withdraw internet access, when I was a kid, and my parents thought I'd been on the games too long, they'd just come in, turn it off, and take the power cable away.

OF course, some lawyer would probably find a way to get that thru court as 'child abuse' nowadays.

If you're too young/immature to understand the ins and outs of the internet and it's seedier side, you're too young to be on Xbox Live unsupervised.

vansau:

dogstile:
A PR guy contacted the Escapist? Good thought, but useless considering most, if not all people here know how to use family settings on a console.

You'd be surprised. I have a number of non-gamer relatives with kids who don't know the first thing about parental settings. Besides, if this article keeps even one kid safe from something like what happened with Hammerstone, I consider it worthwhile.

Yeah, I'm sure all those would-be underage prostitutes are thankful for that...
Where exactly is the "don't send nude pics to people" warning here? All I'm seeing is the same old, same old ass-covering. Show me how this wasn't the kid's fault.

I cant believe all of these people saying its the kids own fault. He is 10 years old. I did all sorts of dumb shit far after the age of 10. He is an easy target for a predator to manipulate. You could say its his parents fault for leaving him to his own devices on XBL but thats different than saying its the kids fault. He's the victim here.

Children can be easily manipulated, thats why there is legislation to help to protect them. Did this happen in the US or the UK?

Didn't the kid ever think, "Hmm, sending nude pics of myself might be a bad idea"?

Because Child Predators are a totally new thing. We never had them before the internet.

Hey, Parents? How about teaching your kid, playing with them or talking to them once in a while?

Holy shit you people are the worst bastards ever. The kid's 10, easily manipulated and well at the very best as intelligent as a ten year old. Kids can easily be coerced by adults, people they automatically view as authority figures. Blaming the kid kid is like saying it's a woman's own fault for standing at the corner of Rape a Bitch and Stab a Bitch at three in the morning alone. Should they do it, definitely not but hey, how about we act like decent human beings and get angry at the sick fuck WHO MANIPULATED A TEN YEAR OLD BOY INTO SENDING HIM NUDE PICS.

Also to say the kid probably knew it was wrong, how much shit did you do as a kid and probably still do now knowing it's wrong? he's 10 he probably doesn't know why it's wrong because I'm assuming he hasn't even heard the birds and the bees yet, never mind the Birds, the Bees and the sexual predator. He probably just assumed he was breaking a rule and getting paid for it.

Quiet Stranger:
This is good news but I can't help but not feel for the kid, his own fault really, when I was his age there was thousands of kid friendly websites telling us not to do these things

This. I mean they should know this already.

I never really socialize online anyway, plus I don't have an XBox and I doubt my allowance will be enough to pay for the online subscription fee. I do feel sorry for the kid though

Cassita:
If you're too young/immature to understand the ins and outs of the internet and it's seedier side, you're too young to be on Xbox Live unsupervised.

DING! Ten Points, top of the clas etc etc!
It's not MS' responsibility at the end of the day. I would think that raising your kids, as well as keeping them safe (on or offline) was top of the list of 'Things To Do When You're A Parent.'

Same as with Game Ratings, parents should familiarise themselves fully with the product before allowing their kids to use it, instead of freaking out when Junior starts playing and/or quoting an 18-rated game.

IckleMissMayhem:

Cassita:
If you're too young/immature to understand the ins and outs of the internet and it's seedier side, you're too young to be on Xbox Live unsupervised.

DING! Ten Points, top of the clas etc etc!
It's not MS' responsibility at the end of the day. I would think that raising your kids, as well as keeping them safe (on or offline) was top of the list of 'Things To Do When You're A Parent.'

Same as with Game Ratings, parents should familiarise themselves fully with the product before allowing their kids to use it, instead of freaking out when Junior starts playing and/or quoting an 18-rated game.

Yay! What do I win?

People are always looking to blame others and offload responsibility - even when it comes to their child's safety and wellbeing, it seems. Some might make arguments attaining to privacy and trust, but if you feel your child is mature enough to use the internet and don't supervise them, you have only them to blame if (and when) they get themselves into trouble - after all, they are mature enough, right? Or were you wrong?

I don't know, maybe I'm ranting, but I've seen a lot of it first hand and it really gets me going. Grr.

 Pages 1 2 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Posting on this forum is disabled.