Xbox Live user faces charges

For allegedly molesting teen.

Police in California have accused a 26-year-old man of using the Xbox Live service to make contact with a teenager and arrange a meeting during which the boy was molested.

It's alleged that Ronnie Watts, of Placerville, began exchanging emails and chatting with the 14-year-old over Xbox Live several months ago. He is also said to have sent the boy lewd videos of himself.

Police say that in November boy gave Watts his home address and phone number and they met in a Santa Rosa park, where the molestation allegedly took place.

The boy later told his mother about the alleged incident and Watts was arrested on December 15. Police seized his Xbox, laptop and a collection of cameras.

Watts has been charged with a number of offences including using the Internet to solicit a minor and has yet to enter a plea. He is currently free on bail.

As the issue of protecting children in the online environment becomes of growing concern to parents, videogames companies are taking steps to deal with the problem. For example, the Xbox 360's parental controls can be used to manage players' online activity, such as voice chat.

Nintendo took a different tack when launching Wi-Fi Connection, the new service that allows DS owners to play online. Players must swap their "Friend Code" - a series of digits unique to their DS unit - offline before they can play together over the Internet, and there is no way of communicating directly with others.

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