Roblox is a money making machine and there is nothing wrong with that. Unless the money comes from children who are spending their parents money, without their parents knowledge.
Richard Walters discovered his 10-year-old daughter had spent $7,200 on Roblox over two months during lockdown, despite setting a spending cap on her purchases when they set up the account. He told ParentsTogether: “Over the course of two to three months there was an exponential process in both the frequency with which our daughter was buying currency and the amounts she was purchasing — it started at $1 here or there but by the time I realized what was going on she was buying Roblox currency in $120 denominations and had bought eight lots that very day. “It is also clear that at some level she knew it was wrong but was scared to say anything, having dug a big hole already. She was carrying a heavy burden that was impacting her wellbeing at home and at school as some of her friends lobbied for ever more ‘rare’ gifts from her that cost hundreds of dollars at a time. We had no idea that such things existed in the game. Clearly the ‘rarity’ of these avatar items is specifically designed to induce envy, incentivize spending and ultimately encourage gambling habits.”
Sarah Louise Petty, a mom in Larchmont, New York, was shocked to discover a payment in her bank statement of $1,250 to a third-party app after her son bought items in Roblox. She told Good Morning America that peer pressure had played a role: “Because his friendships were kind of trying at the time, and he was feeling a bit outcast, he was purchasing Robux and giving gifts to his friends,” Petty said.
72-year-old Steve Cumming made what he thought was a one-time payment of $5.65 when his daughter downloaded Roblox — he didn’t realise that it was in fact paying for an in-app purchase and that his daughter would be able to continue buying things with the same card. A month later, he found over $5,000 had been charged to his account for thousands of in-app purchases. He told journalists his daughter had not understood what she was doing: “She thought she was playing with monopoly money – it didn’t seem real to her. How can these companies be allowed to trap minors in these games? To trap people who are vulnerable?”
An 11-year-old girl in the UK ran up a bill of over $3,300 over five days while her mum was recovering in hospital from an operation to remove a brain tumour. Her father told The Guardian: “The first I knew about it was when our bank informed us that we had exceeded our overdraft limit. My daughter managed to make 48 separate purchases, totalling almost £250, in a single day. At what point does a company step in to investigate this level of activity?”
Maria Vasquez found her 9-year-old son Thenniel had spent $1,162.32 on in-app purchases in games including Roblox. Vasquez told Global News that Thenniel, who has autism spectrum disorder, had not realised the games cost money and had memorised her password without her knowledge. “He’s a minor. He’s nine years old with autism,” said Vasquez.