The Dominion Post 26 June 2008
Parents are being reminded to be vigilant over computer use after a 12-year-old girl sent 300 sexually explicit photos of herself in exchange for points on an American Internet gaming site. Customs investigations manager Terry Brown said the New Zealand girl’s account was hacked, which resulted in the loss of her game credits. The hacker then offered to restore the girl’s credits – if she sent sexually explicit photographs of herself. Mr Brown said the girl’s parents were stunned when told about the incident.
Her actions came to light in March after a tipoff from American authorities. United States and Canadian authorities are now investigating information from New Zealand Customs officials. The case follows a warning from Interpol online child abuse investigator Mick Moran that officials are seeing a huge increase in “self-taken child pornography”. Mr Brown said online games provided an easy means for children to be groomed by sexual offenders. Lee Chisholm, from Internet safety group NetSafe, said parents needed to be vigilant as soon as their children showed an interest in the Internet.