Report: Roblox Users Advertise Virtual Strip Club and Explicit Content to Minors
By Movieguide® Staff
The online game platform and game creation system Roblox, which launched in 2006, has captivated millions of children with its seemingly family-friendly, community-based content. However, a recent article published by Rolling Stone dove into the platform’s explicit and unmonitored content, like online strip clubs.
Roblox allows users to create their own virtual games. Although once heralded as the “number one gaming website” for children, sexual content on Roblox has grown exponentially.
The Rolling Stone article highlights an anonymous 16-year-old girl, who uses her online alias, Valerie, as a stripper who earns in-game currency, Robux, to perform virtual sexual acts for other users.
“She likes having fun. She’s up for anything if you ask her to,” Katie told Rolling Stones reporter EJ Dickson. “Most of all she’s always looking for attention. She wants your attention.”
Although the blocky and expressionless characters are not inherently explicit, virtual sexual activity is still rampant. Moreover, there are real-life concerns about the activities that Katie is promoting. The 16-year-old says she’s received violent threats on the platform, and her family is unaware of her online activity.
The article also notes that even in-game chatrooms or virtual strip clubs can become gateways sexually explicit content accessed by minors.
According to the article, Katie confesses that moderation of sexual content is almost non-existent and is easily avoidable.
The article reads:
Popular, ostensibly SFW Roblox dance clubs like Club Iris, which has had more than 107 million visits since its inception in 2018, can also serve as “gateways” to more sexualized interactions on the platform, says Katie. “There are people on there who dance on rich guys for Roblox — 1,000 Robux, 2,000 Robux,” she says. “It’s moderated but very rarely. There are a few admins on there but they don’t do much. There’s a lot of attempts of girls to get sugar daddies. I’ve tried getting a sugar daddy” to give her Robux to buy clothes, hats, and games passes on the platform.
Despite Katie’s popularity, Roblox is attempting to crack down on sexual content. Dickson reports that the platform has adopted more stringent parental controls and rating systems in response to the growth of strip clubs on the platform.
Roblox reportedly reached out to the virtual club’s developer, and warnings were added for incoming players.
“You may receive warnings, kicks, and bans if you engage in behavior that is against the Roblox Terms of Service (TOS),” the warning reads. “In addition, we have a zero tolerance policy regarding any inappropriate behavior including, but not limited to: re-enacting inappropriate scenes or poses, online dating, bypassed clothing/inappropriate avatars, and any VR players caught performing inappropriate actions. Players caught performing any of the above or other inappropriate actions will be permanently banned on the spot and will have to appeal within the communications server in the game description. Repeat offenders will be immediately blacklisted and will not be allowed to return to Club Iris.”
Roblox also released a statement that denies that their platform exploits or targets minors with inappropriate content.
Two contributors to Roblox’s strip club epidemic are the social media site TikTok, and the online chatting platform, Discord.
Last year, Discord made the National Center on Sexual Exploitation’s “Dirty Dozen” list, while TikTok made the site’s watchlist.
Movieguide® previously reported:
The popular gaming app, which allows users to video chat and voice chat as a community, expanded the app’s functionality.
“With the expansion of Discord’s brand to include more than just gamers, the platform has opened its doors to predators and abusers and is allowing them to settle comfortably within Discord’s servers,” NCOSE said.
“Pornography trading has become popular on the platform, where users can share links and images of themselves and others. Entire servers are dedicated to finding and sharing non-consensual sexual images of girls and women — sometimes known as revenge porn.”
Moreover, the Rolling Stone report notes that TikTok has become the primary place that virtual Roblox strippers advertise their games and content.
Alex F, who runs the Roblox news account @Roblox_RTC on Twitter, said that while strip clubs are not advertised on Roblox or Roblox news accounts, it is a common occurrence elsewhere.
“They advertise very openly, even though it is kind of a private culture,” Alex said. “During the pandemic people were bored out of their minds and needed something to do, and it gets kids’ attention immediately when they see, ‘you can make money at this Roblox club by twerking virtually.'”
The report reads:
The TikTok videos, some of which have hundreds of thousands of views, have the distinct feel of serving as recruitment videos. “If this is on your FYP [for You page] it’s a sign 🙂 to become a roblox dancer,” says the caption for one Roblox club, Heelz. “NOTE: you get to make your own bank!,” before showing off the club’s locker room, makeup room, and poledancing platform.
On YouTube, there are dozens of videos posted by popular gaming vloggers of Roblox strip clubs, with titles like “I BECAME A STRIPPER ON ROBLOX!!” and “TRAPPED IN ROBLOX’S FREAKIEST CLUB.”
“Sexualizing your virtual avatar [at a young age] is not right in my opinion,” Alex adds. “And because they are so young it could lead to real-life interactions [off the platform].”
The Rolling Stone report further emphasizes the importance of parents’ involvement in their children’s media consumption habits.