Roblox ‘exploits child labor,’ creates ‘addictive’ gaming experiences, lawsuit claims

(KRON) — Roblox, a video gaming tech company based in San Mateo, was slapped with a new lawsuit accusing the company of exploiting child labor through its youthful players, as well as deceptive advertising.

Roblox’s market dominance in the video game sector is so large that an estimated 75 percent of children between ages 9-12 in the U.S. use Roblox monthly, according to the lawsuit filed last week in U.S. District Court Northern District of California San Francisco Division.

“The loyalty of millions of children turned Roblox into a wild success during a time when many other similar businesses have suffered and/or failed. Roblox systematically takes advantage of them and exposes them to unsafe, unregulated, and grotesque virtual experiences. It is also designed to harm children with addictive conduct and deceptive commercial advertising,” the lawsuit states.

Attorneys filed the class action lawsuit on behalf of parents, including Raymond and Laura Noel, to seek compensation for Roblox’s allegedly “deceptive and unfair conduct” and “put an end to this illegal scheme.”

“Robux” are digital currency spendable only in the Roblox platform. For example, 400 Robux cost $4.99. According to the lawsuit, in the first nine months of 2023, consumers purchased $2.39 billion worth of Robux.

Most children rely on adults, such as their parents, to buy Robux. Raymond and Laura Noel live with their children in Kern County, California. The couple has spent thousands of dollars on Robux digital currency for their children, the suit states.

David Baszucki, founder and CEO of Roblox, presents at the Roblox Developer Conference on August 10, 2019 in Burlingame. (Photo by Ian Tuttle/Getty Images for Roblox)
David Baszucki, founder and CEO of Roblox, presents at the Roblox Developer Conference on August 10, 2019 in Burlingame. (Photo by Ian Tuttle/Getty Images for Roblox)

Roblox was beta tested for several years and launched for computer play in 2006. The company released its platform for iOS in 2012, Android in 2014, Xbox in 2015, and PlayStation in 2023. Its popularity rapidly grew during the COVID pandemic, attorneys said.

Attorneys claim that the company knowingly designed its platform and games to be addictive. “The design of the Roblox platform was specifically intended to addict users—
especially children—and encourage play for longer periods of time,” the lawsuit states.

The plaintiffs are represented by attorneys at Bullock Ward Mason, Andrus Anderson, and Sterlington PLLC. San Francisco-based attorney Jennie Lee Anderson claims that Roblox unlawfully profits from children’s labor. Millions of youthful users can purchase items inside the Roblox virtual universe, program their own games, and play games created by other users.

Attorneys wrote in the lawsuit, “In fact, the entire digital world of Roblox is user-generated.”

(Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images)
(Photographer: Gabby Jones/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Tina Bullock, one of the lead attorneys representing the plaintiffs, told KRON4 Wednesday, “On behalf of all families impacted by video game addiction and Roblox’s exploitation of children, we look forward to uncovering the full truth, holding Roblox accountable for the harm they are causing, and ensuring changes are made to protect children going forward.”

When creating a Roblox account, the user must enter their birthday. Children under age 13 comprise the largest demographic of users, Anderson wrote. Many games include group and private chat messaging. Users can also exchanges messages between their accounts.

Earlier this month, Roblox announced it launched AI-powered automatic chat translations. The new feature gives users worldwide “the ability to easily communicate with each other, regardless of what language they speak. Built on Roblox’s proprietary artificial intelligence technology, the real-time chat translations power instantaneous translation of text chat messages among users in the 16 languages,” the company wrote on its website.

Roblox CEO asks some employees to return to San Mateo HQ

Daniel Sturman, Chief Technology Officer at Roblox, said, “Our custom large language model is so fast we’re able to do real-time translations from any one of 16 languages to any of the others as people type to help them connect in real time, no matter where they’re from.”

The company said over 70 million of its users are “connecting and communicating” through its games every day, with 19.7 million “new friendships formed on Roblox daily.”

David Baszucki, founder and CEO of Roblox, said that the company’s goal is to get one billion daily active people on the platform, the Verge reported.


A Roblox spokesperson told KRON4 on Wednesday that the company disputes the lawsuit’s allegations.

The spokesperson wrote, “Roblox is committed to providing a positive and safe experience for people of all ages. Respecting ‘The Community’ is one of our core values, and we are proud of the positive difference that building on Roblox, with free tools, has made in the lives of many within our developer community. For the experiences that monetize, the majority are created by developers who are over 18 years old. We also maintain community standards, key features and educational materials to promote safety and civility on our platform for our developer and user communities.”

When asked if parents should be concerned about allowing their children to use the platform, the Roblox spokesperson said, “We have a safety-first culture at Roblox and work tirelessly to promote safety, civility, and a welcoming environment for all on our platform. We have a robust set of safety features specifically to protect the younger members of our community, including a strict set of Community Standards enforced by a combination of proactive content moderation and community reporting. We also offer a suite of parental controls that can be used to limit or turn off chat completely, restrict what experiences children can access, and how much they can spend.”

Roblox’s “Community Standards” set expectations for how users should behave.

Its website has a “Parents, Safety, and Moderation” section that lists ways parents can monitor their child’s account activity. While logged into the account, parents can view the following histories and activities:

  • Direct and small group chat (Chat feature found in the lower right corner of the apps). There you can see individual chat histories

  • Private message history (Messages)

  • Friends and Followers (Friends)

  • Virtual item purchase and trade history (My Transactions and Trades)

  • Recently played experiences (HomeKeep Playing or My Recent)

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