Mxit teams up with police to catch potential sex predators

I came across a story in IOL yesterday about a joint effort between the South African Police Service and Mxit (the mobile messaging service I mentioned a little while ago) to identify potential sexual predators who frequent Mxit’s chat rooms. There has already been at least one incident of a man who persuaded a girl he met in a Mxit chatroom to give him her home address. He then, allegedly, abducted her and sexually assaulted her.

The police used Mxit to set up a trap for the man by posing as a teenage girl and luring him out into the open where he was arrested and charged with the girl’s abduction and sexual assault.

Even though users are anonymous by default in Mxit chatrooms and are advised by Mxit to remain anonymous, users do still identify themselves to other users or give away enough information to identify them. Mxit has been looking at ways to make their service safer for its younger user base but the big concern is always ensuring that these users are educated not to give out personal information to strangers on the Mxit service. Doing so is pretty much the same as telling people they meet in the street who they are and where they live and we all know what our parents taught us about talking to strangers …

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