Amber Petersen was lounging in bed with her 7-year-old daughter last week, watching her play the popular children’s video game “Roblox” on her iPad when she saw a disturbing display on the screen, Jennifer Earl at Fox News reports.
Her confused daughter, Brooklyn, paused and showed her mom the screen, which Petersen says showed a female avatar — her daughter’s character — being “violently gang raped” on a virtual playground by two male avatars.
“Words cannot describe the shock, disgust, and guilt that I am feeling right now, but I’m trying to put those feelings aside so I can get this warning out to others as soon as possible,” Petersen wrote in a Facebook post. The post had been shared more than 7,000 times as of Friday afternoon.
Here is her post in it’s entirety:
WARNING: EXTREMELY GRAPHIC AND UPSETTING SCREENSHOTS IN THE COMMENTS. DO NOT VIEW WITH CHILDREN PRESENT. OR JUST TAKE MY WORD FOR IT AND SPARE YOURSELF ALTOGETHER. I am beyond disgusted to post these photos, but they provide the proof for what I am about to describe in case anyone suspects this could be a bogus story.
I’m struggling with where to begin here because I’m feeling quite traumatized and violated on so many levels. After what just took place this morning, I’m actually questioning whether or not I should allow my precious 7-year-old daughter to have access to a screen ever again. It’s THAT bad.
This horrifying experience involves the popular app Roblox, dubbed the “number one gaming site for kids.” With the second most accessible rating of PEGI 7, Roblox is recommended for children ages 7 and up and it currently has 64 million users. The game contains a multiplayer online gaming platform that allows users to create their own personal avatar, as well as their own adventures (similar to MineCraft). Roblox also provides the opportunity to interact with others’ virtual realities, which is a popular feature of this game.
Roblox also has security settings that allow the parent to block outside conversations and invitations. There are also 24-hour moderators that are hired to block any potentially inappropriate content. When my husband and I decided to allow our daughter to play this game, we adjusted the security settings to maximum privacy. Or at least we THOUGHT we did…
While laying in bed with my daughter this morning, I was reading aloud to her from one of my favorite childhood chapter books. At the same time, she was playing her favorite game Roblox on her iPad while listening to the story. All of a sudden, she stopped me from reading and showed me her screen.
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.
Words cannot describe the shock, disgust, and guilt that I am feeling right now, but I’m trying to put those feelings aside so I can get this warning out to others as soon as possible. Thankfully, I was able to take screenshots of what I was witnessing so people will realize just how horrific this experience was. *screenshots in comments for those who can stomach it* Although I was immediately able to shield my daughter from seeing the entire interaction, I am shuddering to think of what kind of damage this image could have on her psyche, as well as any other child that could potentially be exposed to this.
Parents/Caregivers…I urge you to take another look at the security settings on all of your devices and closely supervise your child if you allow them to continue playing games with online platforms such as Roblox. Better yet, perhaps you can join me in taking the rest of this summer to challenge your child to PUT AWAY THEIR SCREENS….AND READ!!! Books cannot be hacked, but sadly, I’ve learned the hard way that a child’s innocence can be just at the touch of a button.
Also, I urge people to share this post to get this important message out to others. I’m not sure that I’m prepared for all of the trolling and criticism, but I’ll deal with it knowing that even one child can be spared from experiencing such a hideous situation.
Thank you for your time. ❤️
EDIT: over the past few days, I have received hundreds of private messages. Thank you to those of you who have reached out and given your support and heartfelt concerns. I wish I could respond to everyone, but it’s not possible right now, as I am tied up caring for my medically fragile son. Many have also sent friend requests, but I cannot accept them for privacy purposes. It sounds like many are looking to access my screenshots in the comment section. If you click on the post itself, you will be able to see the comments. If you have the time, I encourage people to read some of them. There has been some thoughtful dialogue between my Facebook friends and myself, as well as several shared stories/references that perhaps may be of value.
Thanks again, everyone, for your support and for helping get this very important message out to parents, caregivers, and children. ????
FOX News reports that “Roblox,” which boasts about being the “#1 gaming site for kids and teens” on its website and is developed by the Roblox Corporation, had about 50 million active users in 2017.
“Every day, virtual explorers come to Roblox to create adventures, play games, role play, and learn with their friends in a family-friendly, immersive, 3D environment,” Roblox explains on its site.
Last year, “Roblox” users created 11 million titles.
“Roblox” told Fox News Friday evening it was “outraged” after learning about the incident and blamed the violent altercation on a “bad actor” who has since been removed from platform. The particular game Brooklyn was playing was reportedly suspended.
“We have identified how this bad actor created the offending action and are putting additional safeguards in place to reduce the possibility of this happening again in the future, a “Roblox” spokesperson said in a statement via email. “We have zero tolerance for this behavior.”
The company confirmed it has spoken with Petersen and said it’s working alongside her to educate parents about online safety.
“Our work in ensuring the highest level of safety on Roblox remains our top priority,” the company added.
How much do you want to bet that this ‘bad actor’ is a filthy liberal?
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