Sorry folks, your kids are never completely safe online, you have to stay vigilant and keep an eye on what’s happening on every device – including the Xbox.
While the kids are playing their favourite Xbox game, did you know they can trading text messages too? Right there on the Xbox is a live chat feature which means you and your mates can chat before, after and during their games.
That’s fun and it really creates a social engagement in what can be a pretty lonely environment.
However, it’s also an open invitation to scammers and potential predators.
If your child’s Xbox account is not properly restricted, it’s possible they could be chatting with random strangers online.
More troubling is the recent rise in messages being sent – unsolicited – to Xbox users.
These users are entering random user names, or finding the usernames online, and sending a private text message via the Xbox platform to start a conversation.
That conversation seems almost real, in all cases talks about how they’ve got time on their hands, still in university and enjoying time off with friends.
What happens if the conversation continues is the user will invite them to view “live cams” – Live Cam sites are porn websites where people strip and perform sex shows on camera.
A “free invite” into a show could seem enticing to some – especially a curious young teen – however nothing is ever free, and the scam will soon push toward getting some credit card details and from there the spiral is all down hill.
For adult users, this is simply a warning to take responsibility and be cautious about who you chat with online.
Those of you who are parents the warning is much stronger. Do not let your kids play Xbox where live chat is unrestricted.
Do not let your kids use your Xbox account. The Xbox platform has detailed parental controls which can prevent kids playing games they shouldn’t see, and prevent them from adding friends or chatting with people online.
The parental controls are detailed, but for the most part are a yes/no exercise in determining how much access the account should have.
If you haven’t created a Microsoft Family account, do it now. Set your kids up with their own account, that account can be managed underneath your own as the parent.
For each child you can then restrict a bunch of things, including unsolicited messages.
Online security should be at the top of your list of things to take care of as a parent. It’s not easy, it takes time to setup, but better to spend that time, than have your credit card scammed – or worse.
This problem is not restricted to the Xbox, you should have parental controls and restrictions active on Playstation, Android, iOS and Windows devices too.
A Microsoft Spokesperson told EFTM “Helping keep kids safer online is a priority for us at Microsoft and we provide parental controls for Xbox and Windows which help parents choose the content, communication and sharing settings that are right for their families. For many, the most important of these is making sure that your kids are using child accounts which you have control over.
To do this on Xbox you can find out more at https://privacy.microsoft.com/
We also encourage parents to play an active role in their children’s online activities by doing three important things; use advanced parental control settings available on devices and gaming platforms, talk with kids about their online activities, and set clear household online rules for their families.
If parents have concerns, we encourage them to report via our online reporting platform. Our Xbox Live Policy and Enforcement Team investigates all reports received and takes any appropriate action.”
Trev is a Technology Commentator, Dad, Speaker and Rev Head.
He produces and hosts two popular podcasts, EFTM and Two Blokes Talking Tech. He also appears on over 50 radio stations across Australia weekly, and is the resident Tech Expert on Channel 9’s Today Show each day and appears regularly on A Current Affair.
Father of three, he is often found down in his Man Cave.