Roblox is a popular multiplayer gaming platform for kids that typically has the whole office or a six-year-old grandparent hanging out together on its platforms. The company, which reaches 70 million daily active users, saw virtual chains form on its site this Halloween, forcing children outside for an 8 a.m. curfew, according to the children’s advocacy group Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood. In case you don’t know about the “rival” communities on Roblox, they’re places where kids live out their dream of becoming Olympians on Nintendo Switch or bringing about major social justice changes on campuses.
The petitioners — over 5,000 people — are calling on Roblox to ban children under 13 from signing up for the platform, as well as to bar parents from using it to spy on their children. “It’s not okay for people, who are not necessarily strangers, to be hanging out with the kids in our neighborhoods, on our campuses and in our families, on games like Roblox,” reads the petition.
In addition to the stated rationale, the petitioners have more substantive, and not-so-subtle reasons to question the safety of Roblox’s platform.
The petition calls out allegations that 16-year-old cybersecurity researcher Bryce Boland hacked into a Minecraft server last year, hacked the files of over 100,000 women on an Ashley Madison service, and attempted to crash the site for emergency services by claiming that thousands of websites were down. Boland is currently in jail after pleading guilty to charges of fraud. He’s currently facing up to 20 years in prison.
Read the full story at The Guardian.
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