Roblox: the children’s game platform with ‘Nazi sex parties’
A popular online gaming platform used by millions of children around the world is hosting virtual Nazi sex parties with bondage and strippers, an investigation has revealed.
An in-depth analysis by the BBC revealed that Roblox includes rooms where users can strip down and simulate sex while others watch. The broadcaster discovered scenarios including “a naked man wearing just a dog collar and leash” being “led across the floor by a woman in bondage gear”, as well as a game featuring “two strippers “dancing next to a bar.
What is Roblox?
Roblox allows users to design and create their own games, which anyone else can then play. According to the latest figures from California-based Roblox Corporation (RBLX), an average of 49.4 million users logged in every day in November 2021.
The platform offers more than 40 million games, ranging from “adopting a virtual pet or living in a fantasy castle” to “shoot-em-up multiplayer challenges” and “driving courses”. hurdles,” the Times reported.
And these games are extremely popular with children. In 2020, Roblox told Bloomberg that two-thirds of all American children between the ages of nine and 12 used the platform, and Covid-19 lockdowns have since helped increase its reach.
The vast world of Roblox games has been described as something of a “metaverse” – a universe of virtual spaces that some experts believe is where many people could eventually end up doing most of their socializing and learning. job.
The sex games take place in what are commonly referred to on the platform as “condos”. These spaces are generated by some users to approach sex and simulate virtual sex with their avatars.
The BBC warned that ‘what is written about cats in condos’ was ‘printable on an adult news website, let alone a children’s game’.
The game has a “sexual problem,” the broadcaster said, and while “condos” are something you “should actively seek out,” their prevalence raises questions about “children and adults who potentially socialize together in these spaces”.
What does the company say?
A Roblox spokesperson told the BBC that the company is aware of “an extremely small subset of users who deliberately attempt to break the rules”.
The condos are “usually only in operation for a short time — often less than an hour — before they are discovered and taken down,” the broadcaster reported. And “Roblox says it’s constantly trying to take these games offline – using both manual and automated systems.”
The spokesperson insisted that “we have zero tolerance for sexual content or behavior of any kind, and we take prompt action against anyone who acts in violation of our Community Standards.”
Roblox published a blog post summarizing safeguards, including “parental controls” tools that “can be used to restrict who kids can interact with” and “what experiences they can access.”
What are the critics saying?
Hannah Ruschen, senior online safety policy officer at the NSPCC, told The Times that “it’s not enough for Roblox to play cat and mouse to shut down these rooms only after children have been exposed to harm. “.
The company has also been in the crosshairs of repeated accusations that its gaming empire is built on child labor.
The Observer game reviewer Simon Parker told last month how a girl built her own game on Roblox when she was ten years old. The programmers offered her 10% of the profits the game would generate and by the age of 16 the girl – named only Anna – was earning $300,000 a year. But “with no contract in place”, the game makers then allegedly announced that she and other child independent contractors would receive a fixed salary, which the teenager said amounted to a 40% pay cut.
The platform “reflects many of the challenges and shortcomings of the wider commercial gaming industry: the risk of exploitation, abusive managers, stingy revenue distribution and, more often than not, burnout of workers, which Roblox says are not its responsibilities,” Parker wrote.
“Literal children” are being “cheated out of sometimes large sums of money and labor, a situation the company seems ‘unwilling or unable to address,'” PC Gamer said Roblox insisted. the company “has no working relationship of any kind with creators who develop experiences on the platform.”
But amid a flurry of “negative stories” about Roblox, the “underlying theme here is adults manipulating children on the Roblox platform,” according to InvestorPlace, which predicted that “there is surely some real trouble ahead for RBLX stocks.”
The row could also have a bigger impact in the digital world. As tech giants including Microsoft and Meta rush to create metaverses, “there are already signs that they are struggling to control these virtual worlds,” the BBC said.