The group claims that Roblox falsely advertises its platform to kids.
In line with civil groups that have legally challenged social media and tech giants, a group of families has initiated a class-action lawsuit against the gaming platform Roblox.
Parents File a Lawsuit Against Roblox for Exposing Children to Inappropriate Content
The lawsuit alleges that the Roblox Corporation engages in “negligent misrepresentation and false advertising” by promoting the mini-game hub as a platform for children while exposing underage users to inappropriate or explicit content and permitting them to participate in inappropriate encounters. The group further accuses the company of misleading parents into spending thousands of dollars on the site due to obscured prices and the ability of children to make in-game purchases using fictional “Robux.”
Parents who avoid allowing their kids to use TikTok often don’t hesitate to let them access Roblox, despite the potential for more significant harm. The platform gained immense popularity during the pandemic as parents sought social interaction for their children. However, according to Alexandra Walsh, founder of the filing law firm, Roblox has overstayed its welcome in spaces meant for kids. The lawsuit highlights the site’s purportedly insufficient filtering and moderation policies in enabling this behavior.
Roblox is currently dealing with its second lawsuit in recent months. A complaint from northern California alleges that the company illegally facilitates child gambling through its in-game purchases.
On November 16, Roblox released a statement regarding the latest lawsuit: “We deny the allegations and will address them in court. Roblox is dedicated to delivering a positive and safe experience for people of all ages. We have a proficient team of thousands working around the clock for moderation and safety on Roblox. We promptly block inappropriate content or behavior, including sexual content that breaches our Community Standards.
Families participating in the lawsuit assert that their children encountered nude avatars, avatars engaging in intercourse, the use of sex toys, and virtual strip clubs. This isn’t the sole case of a social gathering and gaming platform facing criticism for inappropriate content in virtual spaces designed for children.
In 2022, Meta’s virtual reality Horizon Worlds faced criticism for potentially subjecting young users to hate speech and harassment. This prompted the site to implement protective features for minor accounts.
Key Information About Online Safety for Children on Roblox
Even as Roblox has transformed into a platform for adult gamers over time, appealing to a broader audience through brand and celebrity collaborations and alluding to adult-oriented virtual experiences, it is predominantly recognized as a gaming platform for children. A demographic analysis reveals that its player base is largely composed of the Gen Z age group, with players aged 13 and older constituting over half of its 70 million users.
The free site’s popularity is partly attributed to its customizability, offering millions of games and virtual worlds (or “experiences”) for users to play and utilize as meeting places for friends. However, the platform has faced ongoing criticism for inadequately managing the vast array of its game offerings. In 2022, Common Sense Media, a nonprofit children’s media watchdog, cautioned parents, highlighting the presence of violence, profanity, and even sexual and racist content. The organization also raised concerns about young users encountering “ODers” or “online daters” seeking romantic and sexual encounters.
To address mounting concerns, Roblox has implemented various safety features, including monitoring teams, chat filtering, password-locked pages, and restrictions on experiences and spending. Additionally, the platform provides extra resources for parents and caregivers. Children under 18 are required to obtain parental consent before creating an account, and users aged 12 or younger have their posts and chats automatically filtered for inappropriate content and personal information.
Common Sense Media released its own parental guide to Roblox, and other safety groups have issued similar walkthroughs for Roblox parental controls and general online safety. Recommended settings include:
- Enable “Account Restrictions” for minor accounts.
- Limit or disable chat settings.
- Turn on “Allowed Experiences” to limit young users to only age-appropriate experiences.