Thursday, 2 Feb 2023

Warning of Prime drink offer being used by paedophiles to groom kids

Aldi shoppers 'climb over each other' to secure viral Prime drink

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Parents are being warned to monitor their children’s online activities after a survey revealed scammers are using Facebook and the video game Roblox to lure kids to rogue free Prime drink giveaways. Internet proxy specialists Geonode scraped more than 50 forums and chat room websites, including Chat to Go, Kids Chat Net, and even Facebook groups and gaming forums like Roblox, to entice children as young as 12 to meet for free Prime giveaways. According to analysis, Google searches for free Prime drink meet-ups had shot up by 789 percent over the previous month.

The warning comes as children in the UK have been queuing to buy the drink created by YouTube personalities KSI and Logan Paul in recent months. As long lines of customers formed outside retailers, the Prime Hydration drink quickly ran out, sparking crazy internet bidding wars. 

The drink’s growing popularity has had Action Against Abduction’s director, Geoff Newiss, warn parents to keep a close eye on their children’s online activity.

He told The Sun: “Traditionally we’ve always thought about abduction happening outdoors – a man driving round trying to lure a child into a car with the promise of sweets.

“But online forums have really changed the nature of these offences. The important thing to remember is that simply warning children about strangers is probably not going to do the job.”

Mr Newiss added: “Children go online to meet and connect with people, and the concept of a stranger quickly gets lost, particularly in the face of a powerful lure. In the same way as outdoor safety, we suggest that parents use the Clever Never Goes rule.”

As the lead developer for Clever Never Goes, Mr Newiss offered advice on how parents can monitor what their children are doing online.

He said: “For parents, being able to talk to children about their online lives is key. Relaxed, regular conversations about internet use can encourage children to ask when they are unsure about something.

“If children start being very secretive or get nervous when they receive a notification this could be a warning signal for parents to look further into their children’s online activities.”

Mr Newis warned youngsters that if tries to meet you in person, they should tell a parent or someone you trust so they can investigate.

The drink went viral after YouTube stars Logan Paul and KSI promoted it during high-profile celebrity boxing matches in Britain.

Prime drinks have gained so much popularity among youngsters that Asda and Aldi have had to limit the number of bottles customers can buy. The sports drinks are normally priced at £1.99, but they have been seen being sold for as much as £8.50 in Lancashire.

The caffeine-free drink contains mostly water and coconut water with added vitamins and minerals and comes in a variety of different flavours including ice pop, blue raspberry, grape and lemon-lime.

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After their final boxing match in 2019, the duo came up with the idea for coconut water-based Prime Hydration. The two said during a live stream that they intended for their drinks to “challenge the greatest brands on earth,” including “Pepsi, Coke, Gatorade, and Powerade.”

The YouTubers stated that taste and hydration were their primary goals for their collaborative drink. Logan Paul claims that 50,000 bottles were sold out within five minutes of being made available online.

Geonode’s spokeswoman and internet safety lead Sophie Chanel has told parents to be more vigilant about their children’s Internet activity, saying: “Although we can’t be certain of the malicious intent, it’s worrying that adults are running these ‘schemes and competitions’ aimed vulnerable kids. We need to as parents ensure our kids are not being manipulated on what we might think are harmless sites.”

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