Roblox to develop improved parental controls as it struggles with sexually explicit content

I actually had no idea that Roblox wasn’t its own game like Minecraft or Fortnite—it is actually its own gaming platform with 40 million games to choose from. This is even more terrifying to me because my nieces and nephews have mentioned “Roblox” as something they play every day, and that there are reports of some games that let players’ simulate sex or engage in raunchy talk.

It’s only recently that the company’s chief privacy officer Remy Malan said that Roblox is “working on developing content ratings for games”. He also said that they’re looking into ways to “make parental controls easier to find and use”.

Roblox has a whopping 32.6 million daily users—more than half of whom are under the age of 13. According to WSJ, age-inappropriate games can show up on their “recommended for you” lists even when kids say they’re under 13.

Doing my own research, I have found that typing “sex” or “sexy” in their search box won’t lead me anywhere—thankfully. However, if I type something like “shower” or “dirty”, there are questionable things that pop up.

The platform’s current system restricts kids to specific games. But under the new system, parents would have more information about what kids might find in a given game. However, it’s not always clear that it might have explicit or inappropriate content in it.

There is no information yet of when the new ratings system would be available, but Malan stated that Roblox has “a team of more than 2,300 people monitoring games for safety”, and uses a mix of human moderators and AI. However, it might be hard to perfect seeing as there are so many games to sort through.

Roblox might just be a silly kids game in my own judge-y definition, but it has taken some serious control over what stores are selling and what parents are buying. I’ve seen Roblox-themed merch and toys in stores, and recently Roblox has also announced a partnership with Nerf. Let’s face it—it’s going to be everywhere if it isn’t everywhere already.

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Dzamira Dzafri