North Carolina mom Amber Petersen was watching her daughter play a game called Roblox on her iPad, when she saw something that shocked and horrified her. Her 7-year-old daughter’s avatar, which she used in the game, was being sexually assaulted by a group of male characters. As soon as Petersen saw what turned out to be exposed male genitalia on the characters assaulting her daughter’s avatar, she did the only thing she could do at the time, which was to snatch the tablet from her daughter’s hands and do her best to shield her eyes. Sadly, the damage had been done already.
Roblox is a game that is rated for players aged 7 and up by PEGI, the European game rating system, with nothing more than notes for mild in-game violence. The game is moderated 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Even with that and the game’s protection settings maxed out, this unfortunate incident still took place. The problem is that Roblox has around 64 million users worldwide, some of whom generate their own content and quests for the game. That is something that cannot always be monitored, and usually only comes to the attention of the game’s developers if something goes wrong.
Petersen posted to her Facebook the story of what had happened with screenshots in the comments section as proof of what had happened. If you visit the full post, please be advised the screenshots are graphic and disturbing.
It took very little time for word of the incident to reach Roblox Corporation, where swift action was taken to discern how the game was compromised, perform a repair, take actions against a player, and issue an apology that other corporations engulfed in a PR nightmare should take note of. A spokesperson for Roblox reached out to Gamesindustry to release a statement to the public concerning the incident.
“We were outraged to learn that Roblox’s community policies and rules of conduct were subverted. 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 player has been permanently banned from the platform, and the minigame in which the incident took place has been suspended.”
The actions Roblox took to cleanup and safeguard their game may not end the problem of inappropriate behavior on the game indefinitely, but it does go a long way toward helping keep the platform a safe place for kids to play, and as importantly, provide parents with a little peace of mind that should anything negative happen, Roblox is committed to taking swift action to rectify the situation.