Online Child Gaming Company Roblox Says In-Game 'Rape' Was Caused By A Hacker

Graphic: Roblox

A seven-year-old girl was playing the online game Roblox a few weeks ago when her in-game character was assaulted by two other characters in the game. The girl’s mum, Amber Petersen, saw the incident unfolding on the iPad screen — two male characters sexually assaulting her daughter’s avatar as it was lying on the ground.

Horrified, Petersen took screenshots and posted them on Facebook, blasting the game’s maker (also called Roblox) for allowing this to take place on a gaming site for kids. In the post she described what she witnessed in the game:

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 3 characters ran away, leaving my daughter’s avatar laying on her face in the middle of the playground.

Earlier this month, Roblox told BBC it had blocked the account responsible for the virtual sexual attack as it had violated the community policy.

Now, Roblox says that the virtual attack was caused by a hacker. According to a BBC report, the hacker slipped though Roblox’s protection system and uploaded a code that allowed them to change the rules and create custom animations.

“The incident involved one bad actor that was able to subvert our protective systems and exploit one instance of a game running on a single server,” a Roblox spokesperson told Gizmodo.

“We have zero tolerance for this behaviour and we took immediate action to identify how this individual created the offending action and put safeguards in place to prevent it from happening again.”

Roblox’s site states that the company protects players “by proactively filtering inappropriate content and acting against anyone who is in violation” of their rules of conduct.

The company has a moderation team that pre-reviews uploaded images, videos and audio files, according to its website. The game also uses an automated system to monitor communication between players and allows parents to use protective tools to modify the gaming experience and block other players.

Roblox has at least 64 million players per month, and allows these players to create their own games and activities. The general intention is to encourage creativity, but as we now know it can also breed depravity.

[BBC / Washington Post]


Comments

    I'm actually impressed to see in a news article for once that a parent was actually monitoring their child's game playing, instead of just letting the game babysit for them.

    Kudos to those parents. Usually stories like this are more along the lines of, "Timmy was playing Fortnite... And a week later I noticed a bunch of charges on my credit card, and I shall take no responsibility for any of it because it was all those evil developers!"

      Regardless of the game rating, 7 is way too young to introduce a kid to any kind of online community.
      Is any kotaku reader actually surprised that something like this happened?

        Splatoon1/2 and Mario Kart (any version) come to mind.

    Not really anything new with this game the playerbase is a downright cancerous cess pit filled with edgy children/teens and a few low tier(aka rubbish tier) youtuber's.

    That being said I'm surprised this has not been reported on before because from what I know 'hackers' are quite prevalent in Roblox and they do shit like this often....like I said mainly edgy children/teens.

    I recently went to install Roblox for my 6yr old son to play. Discovered it required the user to be 13+ and told him no. Beyond the age requirement it also seemed to be a bit too advanced for where he's at with gaming for now.

    So based on their user terms I hope they also banned this lady's account as she's signed up for it and let a 7yr old play. To me this is equivalent to letting a 10yr old play Grand Theft Auto and then complaining when they find hookers.

    Last edited 20/07/18 8:57 am

      13+ is a US age restriction thing, they have to have certain things setup for younger in the US.

      As for Australia we don't have that sort of legislation.

        As an Australian when I went to access the game it required me to create an account and enter a D.O.B that was 13yrs or higher.

        Regardless of legislation, their user terms require a minimum age of 13yrs. Based on that alone they should ban the account.

        User terms in games include a lot of conditions that aren't required under law...like hacking/cheating in a game isn't illegal but it's against user terms.

        Note that US law doesn't prevent children under 13 from using online services: it just requires that the online service obtain parental consent before letting the child use the service. There are games that jump through these hoops to access that market, such as Pokemon Go.

        Given that Europe is introducing similar laws with the GDPR and applying it to children under 16 by default, I suspect more services will consider the parental consent path worth taking.

    this is all kinds of gross. I'm glad the parents were keeping an eye on their child and I'm glad Roblox took action right away.

    There honestly needs to be real world consequences for this sort of shit. Rape. Virtual or not is still rape. and this was also a freaking child. has this been reported to the police at the very least?

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