Parent Alert: Sexual Predators Luring Children Through Fortnite Game

Parents have a new concern about how sexual predators may target their children. No longer just lurking in the aisles of stores of behind accounts on popular social media, police say popular gaming apps including Fornite have become fertile grounds for adult predators luring minors. Multiple arrests have been made in recent weeks.

Consider recent reports from police in Canada, where authorities say teens there are being targeted by sexual predators through the popular Fortnite game. Montreal-area police are warning parents that predators are using a "sextortion" scheme against minors, seeking personal photos in return. In the past four weeks lone, police said four cases have been reported in the Montreal area.

Police said the scheme works like this, according to the CBC, citing Sgt. Jean-Luc Tremblay with the Richelieu Saint-Laurent police: The predator, or predators, try to infiltrate groups of friends playing the popular Fortnite online game by offering them a chance to advance their game in exchange for providing revealing photos. The photos are then sent via the social media platform Instagram.

In Montreal, the predator then "threatened to share the images publicly unless the teen sent even more intimate material," the CBC reported.

Fortnite is the most popular online game of the year, with nearly 200 million players since launching in 2017. Available throughout the world on multiple different platforms, Fornite is particularly popular with pre-teens and teens lured by first-person shooting, the ability to compete with players around the world, and dance moves that are part of the action. The game is set on modern-day Earth, with most of humanity gone. Players are trying to collect materials for building protective fortifications.

The Canadian cases of sexual predators using Fornite to try and obtain revealing photos from teens are similar to multiple cases in New Jersey in September when authorities made arrests of two dozen alleged predators for using games like Fornite and Minecraft to reach minor victims.

"It is a frightening reality that sexual predators are lurking on social media, ready to strike if they find a child who is vulnerable," New York Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said, describing how the 24 suspects were attempting to lure and elicit sex with teenagers."

Grewal said parents should have an open dialogue with their children about social media, chat apps and gaming if participants are behaving abnormally.

"If children appear anxious of evasive when the topic is raised, it may be a red flag," Grewal said, according to NJ.com. "It's critical that parents talk to their children about social media and chat apps to let them know that the people they encounter may not be who they initially seemed to be."

In Canada, Montreal authorities are now working with schools in the education effort, according to the CBC.

"(Police) communicated with us asking us to transmit a communiqué to inform parents and help them," said Lynne Arcand, an administrator with the Commission Scolaire des Patriotes, a French-language school board representing more than 30,000 students on Montreal's South Shore.

Arcand said the school board regularly works to build awareness about social media safety.

Parent Alert: Sexual Predators Luring Children Through Fortnite Game | World
{{label}}
{{title}}
EDITOR'S PICK