Sexual predators have found an easy access point into the lives of young people: They are meeting them online through multiplayer video games and chat apps, making virtual connections right in their victims’ homes.
Criminals strike up a conversation and gradually build trust. Often they pose as children. Their goal, typically, is to dupe children into sharing sexually explicit photos and videos of themselves — which they use as blackmail for more imagery, much of it increasingly graphic and violent.
The New York Times reported earlier this year that the tech industry had made only tepid efforts to combat an explosion of child sexual abuse imagery on the internet. The Times has also found that the troubled response extends to the online gaming and chat worlds.