The popular online children’s game Roblox has faced backlash after a mother found out her daughter had been invited into a ‘sex room’ by a ‘friend’.
Roblox is an online multiplayer game which is user-generated.
The site advertises itself as ‘the world’s largest social platform for play’, with the slogan:
We help power the imaginations of people around the world.
The Roblox website describes the gameplay as the following:
Every day, virtual explorers come to Roblox to create adventures, play games, role play, and learn with their friends in a family-friendly, immersive, 3D environment.
Players can create their own adventures, as well as join adventures created by other players.
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The site states it was described as one of the top gaming site for kids and teens by comScore last year, and can be accessed via a range of devices, including PC, Mac, iOS and Android.
Despite being advertised as one of the best games for kids, the Roblox app has a rating of 12+, due to the fact it could contain ‘infrequent/mild cartoon or fantasy violence, or infrequent/mild realistic violence’, Metro reports.
The game is thought to be so attractive to children because it’s so creative.
Similar to the popular computer game Sims, once players have created their account, they can customise their avatar to their liking.
Players can choose their own clothing and facial expressions, and even join a a ‘Builders Club’, where they can create their own clothes and sell them to other players for ‘Robux’.
Top games on the site include ‘Welcome to the town of Robloxia’, ‘Work at a Pizza Place’, and ‘Jailbreak’.
The game has chat features, but there are privacy settings and age appropriate chat modes in place.
It’s possible to disable the chat feature within the game settings, and Roblox filters the chats for any players under 12-years-old to avoid inappropriate content, as well as to prevent players from revealing personal information.
The game also allows parents to put a PIN on the settings, to ensure the child cannot change any chat or privacy settings without their permission.
Despite these safety regulations, it seems Roblox still has some work to do, as a six-year old child found herself in a ‘sex room’ on the game a few days ago.
The mother, Peggy, was supervising her daughter’s game when she saw the situation arise.
Peggy stopped her six-year-old daughter playing the game immediately, and investigated the situation.
Speaking to Kidspot, she said:
Luckily I was sitting next to her and noticed out of the corner of my eyes that one of the characters had breasts so it made me look closer.
[My daughter] had absolutely no idea what she was looking at, but I would hate to think about what would have been said to her.
The young girl believed she’d been invited into the room by an online friend, but it turned out to be a stranger the girl had added, mistaking them for someone she knew, Kidspot reports.
Roblox abides by the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act, (COPPA), and is on the board of the Family Online Safety Institute.
The game introduced extra safety features in March this year, with extra parental controls and more stringent chat controls for players under 13-years-old.
Last month, the game also added a feature to ensure players were wearing appropriate attire.
Peggy is said to have reported the room, and it has since been removed.
A Roblox spokesperson responded to the incident, telling Kidspot
In this case, the offending game was taken down immediately after we became aware of it, and the developer that built that game has been banned from the platform.
We have zero tolerance for this behaviour.
Our work to ensure a safe platform is always evolving, and remains a top priority for us.
If you’ve been affected by any of these issues, and want to speak to someone in confidence regarding the welfare of a child contact the NSPCC on 0808 800 5000. If you are a child seeking advice and support call Childline for free on 0800 1111
Emily Brown first began delivering important news stories aged just 13, when she launched her career with a paper round. She graduated with a BA Hons in English Language in the Media from Lancaster University, and went on to become a freelance writer and blogger. Emily contributed to The Sunday Times Travel Magazine and Student Problems before becoming a journalist at UNILAD, where she works on breaking news as well as longer form features.