Video games can be a predator's playground

Thirteen-year-old Jake is like a lot of kids his age...he loves playing video games.

"It's a fun way to interact with your friends and it gives you something to do," he says.
Jake likes the XBOX 360, a gaming system capable of much more than child's play.

"You can share pictures, you can send text messages, voice messages," Jake said.

You can also talk with other players in other places.  In our example, a stranger screams as he fights along with Jake in a video-game war.

Jake has no idea who the other player is. "I talk to people I don't know occasionally," he says.

Jake's conversations with cyber strangers are enough to sound the alarm for child safety advocates.  Chris Newlin with the National Children's Advocacy Center says gaming-systems, like computers, can be playgrounds for sexual predators.
"The reality is the internet-access through the Xbox 360 is almost an even more dangerous situation because who's on the Xbox 360, especially at 4:00 in the afternoon," Newlin said. "If you're interested in teenage boys, there's a lot of them, or younger even...there's a lot of them who are on there."

The potential threat comes with any gaming system that connects to the internet, not just the XBOX 360.

Microsoft, the manufacturer of XBOX, says "Xbox Live leverages these features so that parents and kids can use the online gaming features and feel safer while interacting with others."

Some safety experts suggest cutting out interaction altogether.