Popular children’s gaming platform Roblox has been infiltrated by sex games and strip clubs.
As a parent you have likely come across Roblox, the gaming platform where children can come together and play games, most of which are harmless, and dare I say, a bit boring? The fun of Roblox is the ability to play with your friends who could be miles away, another country even.
In 2020 it was estimated that around two-thirds of all US children between 9 and 12 had played the game, using it to connect in real time with real people. Unlike in more traditional games, the content of Roblox is made and developed by the users. While this is what makes the game exciting for kids, it also comes with its problems.
The sex games on the platform are commonly referred to as “condos”, and they are spaces where gamers can talk about sex, and where their avatars have virtual sex. The sex spaces usually exist for a short period of time before they are removed.
In a statement to the BBC, Roblox accepts their problem saying "We know there is an extremely small subset of users who deliberately try to break the rules,"
"We conduct a safety review of every single image, video, and audio file uploaded to Roblox, using a combination of human and machine detection,"
Larry Magid, president of ConnectSafely- a non-profit organisation that raises awareness about child safety online said; "Roblox is a platform that is very popular among children, and allows children under 13, so it has a special responsibility to protect its users."
These condos are not games that you can easily stumble upon. As a user, you need to actively search for them, but this is still an issue. Another issue is the instant messenger, which allows users of all ages to communicate.
Particularly worrying is children and adults potentially socialising together in these spaces. Part of the game includes an instant messenger where users can talk to each other - and to everyone else playing the game.
Roblox told the BBC: "We have zero tolerance for sexual content or behaviour of any kind, and we take swift action against anyone found to be acting in breach of our Community Standards."