NCOSE Says Roblox Must Remove Children’s Ability to Connect to Anyone Through Voice Calls
WASHINGTON, DC (November 17, 2023) – The National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) called on Roblox to remove the ability of kids to access its newly-launched Roblox Connect feature, which enables teens and adults to connect through a voice call. Roblox is on NCOSE’s 2023 Dirty Dozen List of mainstream contributors to sexual exploitation.
“Voice chats are a known method predators use for grooming – as it is near impossible to monitor them. There have been multiple cases of predators using Roblox to sexually exploit, abuse, even kidnap, children. Yet instead of prioritizing greater measures to safeguard kids, the company irresponsibly chose to release a feature that may very well provide predators with yet another way to reach potential victims,” said Lina Nealon, Vice President and Director of Corporate Advocacy, National Center on Sexual Exploitation.
“Roblox must immediately terminate the ability for minors to use Roblox Connect until the company creates stringent safeguards across the entire platform and can demonstrate an ability to monitor voice chats for grooming. Omegle – an online chat site that facilitated conversations between children and adults – just shut down in large part due to children being sexually exploited on the platform.
“Given that the majority of Roblox’s user base is comprised of kids under age 16, the company should be the gold standard for child online safety,” Nealon said.
Roblox was used as the tool of choice for a predator who groomed and then kidnapped a young girl he met. The company has also doubled-down on efforts to entice more adults onto the platform – officially expanding into online dating, including for 17-year-olds. Roblox allows adult strangers to direct message, chat, and “friend” children – even with case after case of children being groomed and abused through the platform, like this 9-year-old girl who was abused and exploited by two predators who befriended her on Roblox. A five-year-old can sign up with no email or parental permission and access games where their character may be sexually assaulted.
About National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE)
Founded in 1962, the National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE) is the leading national non-partisan organization exposing the links between all forms of sexual exploitation such as child sexual abuse, prostitution, sex trafficking and the public health harms of pornography.