A few strokes of the keyboard and a click of the mouse opens up a world of imagination to children. The online gaming platform Roblox is pretty popular among kids and teens, but recent reports have some parents deleting it.
Currently there are over 29 million games available to play on the Roblox platform across a multitude of devices It's easy to think of Roblox like Legos on your computer screen.
You can build your own world by creating cool stuff. The more money you spend in the app, the more you can get.
The game caught the attention of Lindsey Bowers, a Leander mother of two. Bowers let her sons, ages 8 and 9-years-old, play the game.
But in April, something happened that she did not expect.
"My brother walked into the room and noticed on my son's screen was sexually explicit images," Bowers said.
A picture of a naked woman was found by her boys. Bowers says the boys were jumping from user room to user room when they stumbled across it.
Bowers said she has safety features enacted for her children that prevent things like messages from strangers. So how did this happen? She said if another user in the game allows you to enter their 'world,' the safety features can't control the content.
She believes that is the most dangerous part for parents.
"It seems like they should have moderators who are faster at catching this sort of stuff," Bowers said.
An official with Roblox sent KVUE a statement explaining several safeguards to protect users:
The safety of our community is a top priority and we’re constantly assessing and improving our trust and safety measures to ensure the protection of our users. There are several safeguards in place to protect our users that utilize current technology and human oversight. These protections include:
- Parental controls that enable parents to shut-off chat capability.
- Age visibility so that parents can easily determine that the settings for their kids are age appropriate.
- More stringent chat controls for under 13s restricting a greater range of words (this includes removing the word.)
- Expansion of our moderation team for more aggressive deletion of games and content with behavior we will not tolerate.
- Further enhancement of our guidelines for our developer community in terms of content and experiences that are not allowed in their games.
Together we want to work with parents and the community to stay vigilant over today’s online landscape and continue to build best practices to avoid negative situations. We want to make sure that all users are aware of the potential challenges and navigate them through it. We do urge parents to visit our Parents Guide for more information and the best way to play and have fun on Roblox.
This is a priority for us. We want all users to be safe on Roblox, and we will continue to invest in the safety of the game so it is a positive, productive, fun and protected space for our community. We would like to hear from parents if they have questions, concerns or suggestions and they can email us at email@example.com.
As for Bowers, she says her kids are going to have to find another game to play.