Forget decreased attention spans, neglected studies and pasty complexions. Parents of teenagers can add a new talking point to their anti-gaming rhetoric: meeting co-conspirators to runaway from home with.
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Four Iowa teens went missing this weekend, and parents and authorities think the seeds of the escape were planted during a chance encounter on Xbox Live. The four missing kids are: 16-year-old Corey Sunderman and 13-year-old Austin Boggs, both from the town of Atlantic; and 15-year-olds Jazlyn Visek and Skie Floyd, both of Shellsburg.
Crystal Sunderman told ABC News that her son met Visek through Xbox Live before the group planned its escape. It seems the perils and possibilities of social networking and online discovery move too fast for some modern parents to keep up with.
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"I don't let him have a Facebook account because I don't want him meeting people online," Sunderman said of her son. "I didn't realize they could do so much on Xbox."
But that's not all. Sunderman said her son has run away from home before, and that previous fleeings of the coop have involved the online gaming system as well. He left home this summer after meeting a different girl on Xbox.
"He's got contacts in Pennsylvania, in Washington, in all these places," Sunderland told ABC News. "I mean, it's just like are you kidding me?"
The teens were found safe in Illinois on Wednesday, according to CBS News.
This story originally published on Mashable here.