In case you were wondering if the CEO of Roblox was blowing smoke when he talked up “safety and civility,” allow one parent’s extremely troubling first-hand experience with the game tell you that maybe the company’s moderation isn’t all that it’s cracked up to be.
The Twitter thread from a woman named Carolyn, a games industry veteran, begins with screenshots of parental controls set to the maximum for children aged five to eight and noting how these restrictions should open up manually curated content. Despite these filters, Carolyn was exposed to “dozens” of public bathroom simulator games that fell under the “All Ages” tag.
Upon entering one, she recounts moments – with video evidence – of how her character slipped on a puddle of water and got stuck in a reclining position, which in turn brought on several other players to act as if they were sexually assaulting the character. Other visits to similar games had additional “creep factor” moments, like one where players could leap into a locked stall and take a selfie with the character while on the toilet.
“Look, I know it’s stupid. I generally expect NSFW stuff when I play any game with multiplayer. But these games are MANUALLY chosen by Roblox to earn the ‘All Ages’ tag. And despite past issues w/ bathroom games, they insist on continuing to offer them in the youngest age bracket.
“A multiplayer platform of user-generated content marketed to young kids is a nightmare. There is literally no way to make it safe. You can’t even ensure the players gaming with your kids are actually children.”
The six hour-long experience she shared ultimately caused Carolyn to delete her children’s Roblox accounts. Replies to the thread additionally saw further horror stories shared by other parents, while still more parents joined in with Carolyn’s advice to delete the game from their kids’ lives. “I deleted my kids’ Roblox accounts, and recommend you guys do too,” she writes. “Something is very wrong with Roblox Corp.”
When Roblox was contacted by Polygon, a spokesperson claimed that parental tools were upgraded and insisted the company uses “global industry standards and consulted child development experts to guide [its] policies.”