Mainstream Contributors To Sexual Exploitation

Roblox Isn't All Fun and Games

Among the blocks and buildings, kids may be exposed to predators and inappropriate content.

It’s a parent’s worst nightmare. 

At 13, a Utah boy fell victim to a predator on Roblox, a game his parents thought was safe.  

The abuser coaxed him to move to other apps like Discord and Twitter, where the grooming continued. In December 2022, he was kidnapped, taken across state lines, and sexually assaulted before the authorities intervened and thankfully brought him home.  

Tragically, this is not an isolated incident – since Roblox’s inception, countless children have been sexually abused and exploited by predators they met on Roblox. 

Children are also exposed to highly sexualized content and themes – children’s avatars have been raped, “condo” games revolve around sex (interactive pornography), and kids can enter virtual “strip clubs.” These are prime areas for grooming and they also normalize this type of activity to children. While these incidences happen in the virtual world, the negative effects on kids is devastatingly real. 

How is it possible that a $2.2 billion platform with children under age 13 comprising the largest demographic (and therefore a substantial percentage of revenue) has not embraced common sense child protection measures? Roblox should be leading the industry in the highest safety standards – but instead, it’s leaving young users at grave risk on a platform many parents and kids themselves assume is safe. 

Yet instead of fixing these dangerous flaws, Roblox is prioritizing its race into the metaverse and attempts grow its adult audience

It is long past time for Roblox to truly place child protection at the forefront and to make the platform safe by default and design – rather than continuously pushing more of the burden onto parents – and young children themselves – to try to monitor a platform with more than 40 million games.  

Roblox, stop treating children protection like a game. 

Review the proof we’ve collected, read our recommendations for improvement, and see our notification letter to Roblox for more details.

See our Notification Letter to Roblox here.

Take Action

Our Requests for Improvement

Proof

Evidence of Exploitation

WARNING: Any pornographic images have been blurred, but are still suggestive. There may also be graphic text descriptions shown in these sections. POSSIBLE TRIGGER.

Child sexual abuse and grooming have long been a threat on Roblox. A simple Google search easily yields results about grooming and exploitation occurring on the platform. The following are just a few news stories about predatory adults accessing children through Roblox: 

  • In March 2023, a 40-year-old California man was arrested after traveling across the country to sexually abuse a 14-year-old he met and groomed on Roblox. 
  • In April 2023, a 14-year-old girl from Ohio was sexually assaulted by a man she met on Roblox. The man posed as a 17-year-old on the platform and convinced the girl to send him nude images before picking her up from school and sexually assaulting her. 
  • In 2022, a thirteen-year-old girl in Topeka was rescued from a man she met on Roblox who was sex trafficking her. 
  • In 2022, an 8-year-old girl in North Carolina was targeted by an online predator on Roblox who asked her to send him “hot videos.” The girl’s mother said she had parental controls on all the devices her kids used. 
  • In 2022, a Florida man was arrested after kidnapping a 12-year-old boy he met on Roblox. The man’s charges included sexual battery of a child under 12, kidnapping of a child under 13, traveling to meet a minor for sex, and child abuse. 
  • In 2022, a 13-year-old boy was abducted from his home in Utah by a man he had been having inappropriate sexual conversations with on Roblox. 
  • In 2021, an 11-year-old girl in California went missing and was found with her abuser, who used Roblox to groom and lure her to his friends’ apartment, where he attempted to commit suicide when police arrived to rescue the girl. 
  • In 2021, a 12-year-old boy in Texas was solicited by a 23-year-old man on Roblox. The man was charged with indecent solicitation of a child, violation of sex offender registry, and grooming. 
  • In 2019, an 18-year-old man was charged with 26 counts of child pornography after soliciting nude images from children ages 10 to 12 on Roblox. 
  • In 2017, a 12-year-old boy in New Jersey was groomed by a 56-year-old Virginia man on Roblox. 

The Case of S.U. 

S.U.’s childhood was supposed to be filled with innocent fun, but instead, it was marred by the heinous actions of predators lurking on the Roblox platform. Despite her mother’s watchful eye, S.U. was targeted by not one, but two adult men who manipulated, exploited, and abused her through the game. These predators used Roblox as a hunting ground for vulnerable children, and the company did nothing to stop them. 

The two predators targeting S.U. may have been the most overt abusers, but S.U. was bombarded with sexual advances from other adult players too. Roblox’s supposed monitoring tools for inappropriate, dangerous behavior seem to only apply to swearing and fighting, not the rampant sexual predation happening on your watch. And when S.U. tried to reach out for help, she found none. 

The toll of this abuse on S.U. is immeasurable. It drove her to attempt suicide twice. She has been stripped of her childhood and her mental health continues to suffer. Her mother struggles every day to get her daughter the help she needs, all while fighting for justice against the company that failed to protect her daughter. 

S.U.’s story is a heartbreaking reminder that we cannot let companies like Roblox prioritize profits over the safety of our children. We must demand accountability and change to ensure that no child suffers like S.U. did. 

The Case of Utah Boy, Age 13 

At the tender age of 13, a Utah boy was lured into a trap on your platform, an app that his parents trusted to be safe for their child. But behind the facade of child-friendly graphics and colorful characters, a predator was lurking, preying on vulnerable children like him. With cunning tactics and false promises, the abuser persuaded him to migrate to other apps, including Discord and Twitter, where the grooming continued to take place in the shadows. 

Then came the unthinkable. One day, the boy was suddenly snatched away and taken across state lines before the authorities finally intervened. The trauma that he and his family have been forced to endure is nothing short of a living nightmare. Their once happy home has been shattered into a million pieces, and the boy’s life will never be the same again. 

This tragedy occurred just in the past six months prior to the Dirty Dozen List launch. 

And it could have been avoided if Roblox had taken a stronger stance against the presence of adult predators on your platform. While the company may tout its commitment to safety, these bold statements have proven hollow in the face of frequent incidents of abuse. It’s past time for Roblox to step up and protect the innocent children who use your platform before another tragedy like this one occurs. 

See the full PDF of proof that we’ve compiled (as of May 2023)

Roblox’s policies prohibit sexualized themes and activities, however, there are hundreds of games with sexually explicit themes, including strip clubs, dance clubs, “Condo Experiences,” and more. Child accounts by default have access to all of these experiences. (This article in Rolling Stone addresses the “virtual strip clubs” on Roblox.) 

Many youth have reported innocently visiting “condo experiences” only to be encouraged to visit someone’s “home,” go into the “bedroom,” and then engage in virtual sexual acts. Other children innocently wander around the games and stumble on this activity. NCOSE researchers created a 10-year-old account on Roblox and were easily exposed to inappropriate content, as shown in the screenshots below. 

 

See the full PDF of proof that we’ve compiled (as of May 2023)

Children of any age are allowed to create accounts; no email and no parental permission is required. By default, Roblox sets young child accounts to:

  • allow access to 13+ experiences;
  • allow in-game chatting between young children and everyone else; 
  • allow anyone to “friend” young child accounts (parents cannot even disable this if they wanted to) 

It is unacceptable that even with all of the documented harms, Roblox still does not automatically default settings for children to the safest measures. 

The “parental controls” Roblox does offer are inadequate. They don’t offer protection against some of the most basic risks (allowing parents to blacklist or whitelist specific games or stopping adult strangers from friending kids) and where they do offer some solutions, they are not comprehensive. Instead, Roblox’s parental controls create a false sense of security for parents who trust it. For example, many parents believe they are disabling chatting, but are not told that it only stops some forms of chatting and that adults can still communicate with kids through certain games.

Likewise, parents are not told that anyone can “friend” their child when they set chatting to be only with friends.

Roblox users and their parents deserve transparency and accountability. We need to know the truth to keep kids safe. 

Roblox must provide effective parental controls. The following are some of the flaws with Roblox’s current tools: 

  1. Inadequate Filtering: The platform’s filtering system is not always effective at blocking inappropriate content, including sexual content and violence. This means that children can still be exposed to harmful material despite parental controls being in place. Many games are marked as “all ages” when they include mature and sexualized themes. 
  2. Limited Customization: While parents can customize some aspects of their child’s account, such as restricting most ways to chat, they cannot customize the filtering system or create their own list of blocked words or games. Additionally, parents cannot stop strangers from requesting to be friends with children. 
  3. Limited Visibility: Roblox’s parental controls do not give parents full visibility into their child’s activity on the platform. For example, parents cannot see the content of private messages sent between their child and another user. 
  4. Lack of Age Verification: Roblox does not verify the age of its users, making it easier for underage children to access the platform and potentially harmful content, and for adult users to lie about their ages and gain easier access to youth users. When a child does join the game, there are no prompts requesting parental permission or encouraging the kids or parents to utilize the parental controls. 
  5. Insufficient Guidance: Roblox’s parental controls do not provide sufficient guidance to parents on how to effectively monitor their child’s activity and keep them safe while using the platform. 
  6. Lack of Transparency: Many parents trust when Roblox says parental controls will disable chats or filter inappropriate content. Roblox owes it to parents to explain where its tools fall short and to clarify common work-arounds used to continue chatting (using signs for example) or exposing kids to dangerous material. 
  7. Complicated to Set Up: Parents have to go to multiple places within the app to restrict access to certain content and who has access to their children. It is not easy to find instructions for parental controls, and those that are on Roblox website are not simple to follow and do not explain where the tools fall short. 

It is not enough to rely on parents to monitor their children’s activity on the platform when Roblox has a duty to implement strong and effective measures to prevent these heinous crimes. 

See the full PDF of proof that we’ve compiled (as of May 2023)

Whistleblower Warnings & Investigative News Pieces:

Fast Facts

Apple App Store rating: 12+; Google Play Store rating: TCommon Sense Media: 13+ 

Roblox has no age restrictions or age verification; and new accounts are defaulted to be able to access every ‘experience’

Kids 16 and under make up 60% of Roblox demographic (22% are under age 9) 

Role-playing games on Roblox are growing in popularity – and predators are using them to target kids  

Similar to Roblox

Fortnite and Minecraft

Both are extremely popular games that have also come under fire for sexual predators accessing children and kids being exposed to harmful content. Learn more about both platforms and how to turn on available parental controls at Protect Young Eyes.

Updates

Stay up-to-date with the latest news and additional resources

Roblox under fire after adding controversial voice call feature

Roblox has been heavily criticized for its brand-new feature Roblox Connect that was added to the game over the dangers surrounding players, in particular children, being able to make live calls.

NJ girl kidnapped by man she met playing online video games including Roblox

The girl was found by police in Delaware, more than 130 miles away away from the where she lives.

Roblox: The children's game with a sex problem

Roblox sex games are commonly referred to on the platform as "condos". They're spaces, generated by users, where people can talk about sex - and where their avatars can have virtual sex. In these games, Roblox's rules are thrown out of the window.

A 13-year-old boy was groomed publicly on Twitter and kidnapped, despite numerous chances to stop it

The young boy was groomed on multiple online platforms - including Roblox.

Anti-social media lawsuits are coming for Roblox and Discord

he suit alleges social platforms are addictive and failed to keep adults away from children.

Parents and safety experts sound the alarm about potential predators on Roblox

Do you know what's happening on Roblox? Safety experts say it's time to double check your parental controls.

Recommended Resources

CyberFareedah gives parents some safety advice for Roblox content in this quick, informative video.

Ask Titania: Is Roblox Safe for My Child?

In this incredibly informative blog from Bark, Titania answers an important question from a parent about Roblox.

Roblox Review & Parental Controls Guide

Protect Young Eyes provides a robust review of Roblox and guides parents on setting up safety controls

Roblox "Dating Experiences"

Roblox wants players to form "real-life relationships" in-game, as long as they're 17 or older.

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