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  • Mom Warns Parents Against Roblox: Daughter's Avatar Was 'Gang Raped'

    Roblox, a multiplayer online platform, has been dubbed as the “number one gaming website for kids”
    by Kitty Elicay .
Mom Warns Parents Against Roblox: Daughter's Avatar Was 'Gang Raped'
To read this story in Tagalog, click here.
  • How closely do you monitor your kids whenever they play online games? You should observe them very carefully and with vigilance because, as one mom learned, it can be so easy for highly inappropriate and disturbing graphic content to get on their screens.  

    On June 29, Amber Petersen from North Carolina, USA, posted the chilling story on her personal Facebook account when she found her daughter’s virtual character sexually assaulted on an online game that was rated for kids ages 7 and up. The game was housed in Roblox, a multiplayer online platform dubbed as the “number one gaming website for kids.” It has over 48 million users monthly, according to the company’s website.

    Amber wrote that she was reading a children’s book aloud to her 7-year-old daughter, Brooklyn, while the girl was playing with her iPad. Her daughter suddenly stopped her from reading to show her the screen.

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    “At first I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. My sweet and innocent daughter’s avatar was being violently gang raped on a playground by two males. A female observer approached them and proceeded to jump on her body at the end of the act. Then, the three characters ran away, leaving my daughter’s avatar laying on her face (sic) in the middle of the playground,” Amber wrote.

    “Words cannot describe the shock, disgust, and guilt that I am feeling right now but I’m trying to put those feelings aside so I can get this warning out to others as soon as possible,” she continued.

    Amber was able to get screenshots of the act and posted it in the comments section of her post “for those who can stomach it.”

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    Amber added that while she was immediately able to shield her daughter from seeing the assault, “I am shuddering to think what kind of damage this image could have on her psyche, as well as any other child that could potentially be exposed to this.”

    Roblox allows users not only to create their personal avatars but to design their games as well. Players can interact with each other on these virtual worlds. It can be played in a variety of gaming devices including the Xbox One, Android, Microsoft Windows, macOS, and iOS.

    Amber clarified in her post that before letting her daughter play the game, she and her husband adjusted the security settings to maximum privacy, which allowed them to block outside conversations (the game has a chat option) and invitations. The game also said that it had 24-hour moderators to prevent any potentially inappropriate content. And yet, Amber still witnessed the horrifying act.

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    Shortly after the mom of two’s post went viral, Roblox issued an official statement. “We were outraged to learn that Roblox’s community policies and Rules of Conduct were subverted,” it read. “We have identified how this bad actor created the offending action and are putting additional safeguards in place to reduce the possibility of this happening again in the future.”

    The statement also said that they have identified the offender and have permanently banned the user and the user’s game from the platform.

    But it isn’t the first time that the gaming company was accused of allowing offensive content. Just this June, a 6-year-old girl from Australia was invited into a “sex room” where virtual characters were engaging in various forms of intercourse, Newsweek reported. The mother of the girl reported the room, and it was swiftly removed by the game.

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    According to Newsweek, a YouTube search showed there have been numerous instances of disturbing material being uploaded to Roblox, including games that were designed to look like strip clubs or a school shooting.

    On its parental safety guide, Roblox warned that “while the imagery on Roblox has a blocky, digitized look, parents should be aware that some of the user-generated games may include themes and/or imagery that may be too intense for young or sensitive players.”

    At the end of her post, Amber urged parents to delete the app and also to scrutinize the devices kids use and make sure security settings are in place. In SmartParenting.com.ph's Facebook group Smart Parenting Village, one mom said it was, in fact, her daughter's favorite game, but that she was uninstalling the game after reading Amber's post.

    Amber also asked parents to replace screens with books. “Books cannot be hacked, but sadly, I’ve learned the hard way that a child’s innocence can just be at the touch of a button.”

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