Gangs Use Games Consoles to Lure Children into Selling Drugs
One UK charity asserts that criminals are increasingly using video games to lure kids into drug trafficking. Birmingham Live reported that gangs are using microtransactions to groom minors and buy them in-game currency and skins to gain their trust.
Children’s Society works closely with British Transport Police to raise awareness about the issue. They have suggested that young people could be forced to move drugs around the country because of the pressures of keeping up to date with online trends. Groomers will start to persuade children into committing crimes by giving them gifts in video games.
“Groomers talk to children via social media and online gaming platforms. The exploiter will initially target a child to get what they want in the gaming community. Marianne Head, a Prevention Officer for The Children’s Society, said that it could be new skins or gaming credits. Once they have hooked them up and provided something, the gangs can move on to testing loyalty and seeing if the child will continue the relationship. It builds from there into the young person who commits low-level crimes to high-level crimes. They’re trapped.”
Although microtransactions in games aren’t new, they have become more controversial. When Gran Turismo 7 was released on PS4 HTML5, it had some costly in-game purchases. Some cars were $40 if you buy real money, instead of doing the slow grind yourself. It is easy to see how children could be tempted to trust someone willing to buy these cars.
Birmingham Live reports that four out of five parents worry about their children being groomed online. Parents are encouraged to be aware of warning signs such as their child talking about online gifts or money or their anxiety about not using their phone for long periods. Crimestoppers can anonymously reach 0800 555 112 if you suspect a child is being exploited.