A FERMANAGH mother has issued a stark warning about online safety after her son’s iPad was hacked, costing the family hundreds of pounds and exposing the seven-year-old to online stranger-danger.
The woman was speaking after her a game app her son plays, ‘Roblox’, was hacked, leading her and her husband to investigate the game more.
The mother explained players could make small, in-game purchase which her son had done a couple of times in the past but only with his parents’ permission. Then the couple noticed a bill on their iTunes for £300, which said it was from Roblox. Their son said he’d not bought anything, and the couple didn’t pursue the issue at the time.
“Then, this weekend, we were lying in bed and heard my husband’s phone going ‘ping, ping, ping’ every two seconds,” said the mother. “We looked and it someone was making small purchases of 60p and amounts like that.”
When they investigated further, the couple found the purchases were being made through Roblox.
“It was all small amounts, and they chose late at night to do it,” said the mother. “You don’t realise it’s happening, if we hadn’t seen it we’d have been out a few hundred pounds.”
Things got even more worrying after that, however.
“My husband and I went in and started looking at his iPad and Roblox after that, and we saw all these chat friends we didn’t know he had,” she said.
“They were asking things like what time are you home from school and so on, but all you see of them is their character names.”
The mother said they also investigated their son’s online history and discovered the links he was prompted to at the side of the page on his game apps and YouTube led to inappropriate content.
“It was a really eye-opener,” said the mother. “I felt really guilty, I should’ve been paying more attention. We spent that night looking through it, and we deleted everything.”
The son, who she said had felt very guilty, is is now only allowed to watch things that have been approved by his parents, and has a time limit on his online usage.
The mother urged other parents to educate themselves and their children, and recommended parents check out the “Share Aware” campaign on the NSPCC website.
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