Support Decision to Shut Down Online Gaming Accounts Used by Sex Offenders

Target: New York’s Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman

Goal: To show support of the efforts made to protect the online gaming community from sexual predators.

As technology evolves at such a pronounced rate, it sometimes supersedes the laws and leaves dangerous loopholes and gaps in the legal system. This has been the case many times with the internet and most recently with online gaming being used as a platform for sexual predators to target children. New York Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman, has launched a new campaign called Game Over in which he is attempting to shut down gaming accounts used by registered sex offenders to make the gaming community a safer place for children. Sign this petition and show your support of his efforts to protect the online gaming community from sexual predators.

The BBC reports that over 2,000 accounts on Xbox Live, World of Warcraft, Guild Wars, and PlayStation have been shut down as part of this new campaign. Gaming firms such as Microsoft, Blizzard, Sony, and NCSoft have all backed Schneiderman’s efforts. The Game Over campaign is the next stage in New York’s Electronic Securing and Targeting of Online Predators Act (e-STOP), which became law in 2008 and is one of the most successful internet safety laws in the nation. The law requires that convicted sex offenders release their email addresses, screen names, and all online aliases and identities to the state. In 2011, just three years after the law went into effect, it was reported that the e-STOP law was responsible for over 24,000 social networking accounts and profiles used by sex offenders being shut down.

As children begin to use the internet at a young age, parents quickly become out-of-touch with how online games work and the features these games offer to users. Schneiderman stated that many parents were not even aware of the fact that many online games feature a communication channel that allows players to chat anonymously while they play the game. This tool has been abused by sex offenders in the past who use it to contact and target children. These games should remain a safe place for children to gather and play, void of all threat of sexual depredation. Schneiderman’s Game Over campaign is an important next step in attempting to make the internet a safer place for children. Sign this petition and support the decision to shut down online gaming accounts used by sex offenders.

PETITION LETTER:

Dear NY Attorney General, Eric Schneiderman,

We support your recent campaign, Game Over, that with the backing of gaming firms shuts down gaming accounts used by registered sex offenders. Online gaming communities should remain a safe escape for children to gather and play, without the threat of being contacted by a sexual predator who seeks to do them harm. Convicted sex offenders cannot gather at school playgrounds or children’s sporting events and therefore they should not be allowed to participate in online gaming forums that are often used by children.

We appreciate your efforts in keeping the laws as current as possible with new technology. The e-STOP law has been extremely effective in removing sexual predators from social networking sites and this new campaign is an important next step in protecting the online gaming community from sexual predators. It is our hope that other states will follow suit and pass their own legislation barring registered sex offenders from the freedom of the internet that should be reserved for those not convicted of sexual depredation.

Sincerely,

[Your Name Here]

Photo credit: Robert Couse-Baker via Flickr

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