Do you actually know what your child is doing on his phone right now?
Mobile games have become a good babysitter for many parents which can entertain and pass the time in the car or at home, while mum and dad are busy with other things.
27-year-old Simone Schødts from Asnæs, in the northwestern part of Zealand in Denmark, had her Monday night spoiled by a mobile game that her 9-year-old daughter had been playing during the weekend.
- It was a wake up call and I felt sick to my stomach. So now, I just want to warn other parents against the game, Simone says to Dagens.com
On Sunday night, her 9-year-old daughter had a secret that she had to share with her mother.
The daughter had been contacted by another user in the children's game Momio, which is a popular app for children, and had been terribly afraid by the question the user had written to her. So scared that at first she did not dare to tell her parents about it.
- We have the agreement in our family that you're allowed to have secrets, but not the kind that makes you stomach hurt. My daughter then tells me that she has one of those secrets that gives her a lot of pain in her stomach, says Simone.
On Friday, the 9-year-old girl had been playing on the phone and she had chatted with the user jacob409, a boy who said he was 12 years old.
According to the daughter, jacob409 suddenly asked her, what she would do if the two of them were alone in a room wearing only underwear.
The daughter’s story quickly got Simone to share the experience on Facebook and to warn other parents about the popular game. Photo: Simone Schødts
It immediately prompted the 27-year-old mother to check the phone, but the daughter had already deleted the game and all the information. Therefore, Simone decided to contact the people behind the game to determine, who had written and scared her daughter.
- I then contact the Momio game, and they were able to find the user and the chat, and they told me they had deleted jacob409 from the game as they could see that there were some limits that had been violated, said a shaken Simone to Dagens.com.
But when Momio returned in an email to the mother, they suddenly no longer wanted to check the suspicious user.
- Momio has since written in an email, that it most likely is a 12-year-old girl who tries out boundaries, and that they do not want to police the case. However, they could not explain what they built the assumption on, so I've reported the case myself, says Simone Schødts.
For the company's comments do not give any peace to the young mother, who wants to settle the case.
- Whether it's a 12-year-old child or not, we as parents have the responsibility to ensure that our children are not being offended by other children. I hope we get this sorted out, so I know who wrote to my daughter.
- I believe you should do what you can, and this is an issue where I can do something for my own child and for other children, says Simone Schødts to Dagens.com.
Therefore, she will now also encourage other parents to set clear guidelines for their children's use of mobile games, which she has now done in the face of the scary event.
- I thought I was being hysterical chekking my daughter's phone and ipad. But you have to do that. In the future, the games in our home are not allowed to have a chat feature, because that's where it goes wrong. The security is not good enough and it's a buffet for pedophiles, says Simone.
CEO: The risk can't be avoided
At the mobile game Momio, the Managing Director Mikael Jensen is sorry about the experience that Simone Schødt's daughter has been exposed to. In spite of the game's security procedures and guidelines, the company can not fully assure that such episodes don't take place.
Of course, we can't completely prevent children from asking other children inappropriate questions. It happens in the physical world and in the digital world. We are basically an open platform, but our security systems and processes make sure that there is a consequence for those who violate our rules. If you completely want to avoid the possibility of receiving inappropriate content, you will almost need to close the internet access for children. We do not believe this is the way forward or that it will benefit the children, says the CEO in an email to Dagens.com.
The company will, however, not reveal how they have come to the conclusion that it is a child, who has attempted to violate Simone's nine-year-old daughter, but says that in this case, it is an assessment by a security officer and therefore the company don't want to go to the police with the case.
-Our Momio employees have extensive experience in managing security on Momio and can make a very accurate assessment of the matter based on the data available. Momio normally don't go to the police with a case, if the Momio team consider the offender to be a young child. Instead, we make sure that this person can not access Momio again, says the CEO Mikael Jensen to Dagens.com.