Roblox, gender identity and safeguarding

(65 Posts)
FemaleAndLearning Sun 25-Apr-21 09:57:36

A long article from the Guardian not really saying much but seems to lack any idea of safeguarding for the children who identify as trans and for children in general. "Hannah" ordered oestrogen online. There was no discussion about the risks of doing this. It was completely normalised. Also, flippant discussion of using Discord to get around strict chat guidelines within Roblox.

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Tibtom Sun 25-Apr-21 10:00:53

I thought the guardian was all for this? Anything else being a hateful barrier to a ten year old seeking to follow the path of righteousness?

Tibtom Sun 25-Apr-21 10:03:03

Ah sorry, misread your post (I don't like giving the guardian clicks). I see you are saying they are still upholding this stance

Grimbelina Sun 25-Apr-21 10:03:57

I just posted in AIBU on this, absolutely shocking safeguarding, I really couldn't believe what I was reading....

Grimbelina Sun 25-Apr-21 10:06:02

Worrying quotes:

*“It’s a free game, you download it in 30 seconds and you’re playing against six-year-olds,” one 15-year-old trans player said.

"...since we have this community of young players just starting out their journey online, we also want to go beyond safety and actually give them some life skills as they are growing up, through promotional campaigns and by highlighting different voices in the Roblox community."*

Tibtom Sun 25-Apr-21 10:14:34

My understanding from various facebook posts is that many young children are finding Roblox 'goes beyond safety and gives them life skills' by allowing them to be scammed and stealing their real-money costing currency and features. The general response to parents asking about Roblox seems to be 'don't'.

NotBadConsidering Sun 25-Apr-21 10:19:58

I read this article and was shocked not shocked by the lack of journalistic interrogation into this, just the usual fluff. I have seen, with my own eyes, a print off of a discussion on Discord of a 14 year old boy confused about his sexuality and gender identity, with adults. It is grim - explicit, pornographic, exploitative, just grooming in plain sight. It was adults talking to this boy about what they wanted to do to “her”. There are forums on Discord full of this. This boy’s mother was horrified.

The fact this Guardian journalist didn’t even mention what goes on in this sense tells me they want to gloss over children chatting inappropriately to adults online. Either that, or they’re so incompetent they didn’t even find out what goes on.


WorkingItOutAsIGo Sun 25-Apr-21 10:43:33

The safeguarding red flags in this article are extraordinary- both from the Guardian and the mother - I would slate the father too except he is not featured. A child gaming at the age of 3?? Explicit description of AGP behaviour at the age of 10?? No surprise Hannah is into anime and IT is it? The poor child needed help and support not online grooming.

Thingybob Sun 25-Apr-21 11:01:26

The Guardian sees nothing wrong with Hannah, an 18 year old, taking on an untrained mentoring role to younger players who may be as young as 6? Hannah even calls herself Mother.

stackthecats Sun 25-Apr-21 12:05:57

I too was shocked at this yesterday and have a lot of thoughts about it that I haven't yet had time to sort through, but it's absolutely shocking that this article so clearly articulates in plain sight that the engine of all this is money -- people farming children online in these games for money and perpetuating a whole culture of grooming and indoctrination for commercial profit. So many red flags here, not only in relation to the young person featured, but the idea of adults and teenagers grooming preteen children in online chats, both to convert them to gender ideology, and also to use in-game purchases and game development ideas to then make money off them (which is to then be spent on private "gender affirming bottom surgery", since the article notes that the NHS may be unwilling to provide this fast enough).

It's honestly like some kind of dystopian novel. Who at the Guardian read this and didn't see the red flags? Yay for the new Left, in which all unregulated commercialisation and profiteering is fine as long as it validates someone's identity. The fact that all of this so overtly, so transparently, so self-unabashedly feeds into the interests of those who make money from cosmetic surgery and online gaming seems to be completely absent from anyone's mind. This is not leftwing or progressive culture: this is the right wing consumer market gone nuclear. Young people like this need therapy, parental attention and help with social interaction and self-esteem, not to be co-opted as cogs into some kind of gaming chat matrix where faceless people make money out of them buying into games and chats where the objective is to keep them there. What kind of progressive person thinks any of this is okay and "liberating"?

stackthecats Sun 25-Apr-21 12:13:03

And just in case anyone thinks my post is over the top, here are some relevant paragraphs:

"With the encouragement of her Roblox community, Hannah finally came out as trans to her family at the age of 18, and found them surprisingly supportive. “I just punched myself because I could have just come out at 10 years old and started puberty blockers,” she says. “Now I have to get surgery to reverse puberty.” She has spent almost three years on the NHS gender clinic’s waiting list, in the meantime opting for a private consultation, after which she was prescribed hormones. She now wants vocal cord surgery to feminise her voice and the gender-affirming procedure commonly known as “bottom surgery”, which she estimates will cost £30,000 in total.

At first Hannah had no idea how she could make that much money. Roblox provided a potential answer. Though free to download, Roblox makes money from a premium subscription service and the sale of Robux, an in-game currency used to buy accessories and items for avatars. It is not just the company that can profit; Roblox has more than 8 million community developers, often teenagers working alone or in small teams, who create games for others to play. When a developer has earned 100,000 Robux from their games, they can cash out at an exchange rate of 100,000 Robux to $350. There is serious money to be made: the developer community made $328m in 2020, up from $110m in 2019.
Hannah had been making games on Roblox for fun since 2014. She joined a small team of game-makers who go by the name “Pops Developing”, and began creating games for a fan group that now has more than 13,000 members. In their most successful game so far, Marble Simulator, players roll around a blindingly colourful landscape collecting coins and blasting enemies. It recorded 1,500 simultaneous players during the first coronavirus lockdown. This is still small‑scale – the most successful game racked up more than 1.5 million players – but it allowed Hannah to pay other players to help with 3D modelling for their next game. She has now earned £1,200 from Roblox, and estimates she has more than £1,000 in her account to cash out. She plans to put the money towards voice surgery, booked for early 2022, for which she will need £15,000. “Even if I earn just 5% of what those top games earn, I’ll be happy,” she says."

Hooray for our children's newfound "freedom" in this brave new world!

NotBadConsidering Sun 25-Apr-21 12:31:33

Exactly. Where is the analysis of this passage? Why is no one sitting Hannah down and telling Hannah that the evidence shows surgery will not make you happier and there are better ways to make money and use it? It sounds like a glorified MLM. Even if Hannah is successful at making loads out of creating games, putting it all towards surgery can’t be healthy.

FemaleAndLearning Sun 25-Apr-21 12:33:28

As always you all articulate my concerns so much better. Thank you. Will pop over to AIBU

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Grimbelina Sun 25-Apr-21 12:35:00

glorified MLM

That's the terrifying thing about it, teens making friends with much much younger children and offering up gender/trans ideology with no counter balances/safeguards.

Thingybob Sun 25-Apr-21 13:11:51

Hannah, and the Guardian seem to believe that gaming and self expression via avatars is a means to discovering your true identity. If that is the case then I am no longer a boring older woman. I now identify as the bare chested, mask wearing, young, male character made out of lego that I recently chose when gaming with a grandson.

IloveJKRowling Sun 25-Apr-21 13:17:29

This is terrifying. Shame on you Guardian for not considering safeguarding of children, really young ones at that.

BessieWallisWarfield Sun 25-Apr-21 13:25:24

The phrase near the end struck me as a sort of conundrum: 'still waiting for the operations that will make her feel authentic'.

Normally 'authentic' is used to indicate something true or genuine. The idea of spending thousands of pounds to change a healthy body with cosmetic surgery seems the opposite of what is usually meant by authentic. And to do it for a 'feeling'...?

Igmum Sun 25-Apr-21 13:33:58

It may also reveal one of the reasons why young people are more likely to want to physically transition, because changing avatars is so easy, so painless and so convincing. But surgery isn't like that (Thingybob I'm not a boring middle aged woman either, unfortunately I'm now a green worker bot in a beanie from Amongus. Your avatar sounds much cooler)

FemaleAndLearning Sun 25-Apr-21 13:46:22

And it's all based on sexist stereotypes.

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Thingybob Sun 25-Apr-21 13:52:13

Lol Igmum.

You and I can laugh about it and realise how ridiculous it is that bots or avatars have any bearing on our 'real selves' but pre teenage kids don't distinguish between fantasy and reality in the same way. The number of times I've heard my children/grandchildren say, "I don't know if this really happened or if I dream't it or if I saw it in a film but..."

R0wantrees Sun 25-Apr-21 14:01:32

Many of the testimonies by parents in Angus Fox's series of interviews refer to the influence of online gaming. Including some where there is clear indication of the grooming of boys.

Published on April 2, 2021
'When Sons Become Daughters: Parents of Transitioning Boys Speak Out on Their Own Suffering'
written by Angus Fox

WinterIsGone Sun 25-Apr-21 14:05:24

She vividly remembers the first time she explored [her mother's] wardrobe, at the age of nine. Her mother was at work, her father asleep downstairs in his chair. Hannah crept into their bedroom and tentatively opened a drawer. She took out a silky nightgown and shrugged it on, feeling the instant, giddy rush of something she would later learn to call “gender euphoria”, though it was tempered by fear that someone would walk in.
I would not be happy with my 9-year-old DS or DD going through my wardrobe, irrespective of the "euphoria"!

HamsterV2 Sun 25-Apr-21 14:11:30

I wouldn't let any child near Roblox full-stop.

Those are just 4 examples of many, MANY incidents of child grooming on the platform. A simple Google search turns up hundreds more.

R0wantrees Sun 25-Apr-21 14:17:04

She took out a silky nightgown and shrugged it on, feeling the instant, giddy rush of something she would later learn to call “gender euphoria”, though it was tempered by fear that someone would walk in.

Its a shame that the journalist did not consider enquiring who taught a child to describe such feelings as "gender euphoria".

I suspect at some point in the future articles such as this will be part of the evidence in Child Protection inquiries, no doubt followed by empty promises of, "lessons learned."

stackthecats Sun 25-Apr-21 14:24:51

R0wantrees that kind of lingerie fetishism of course has been well known and described throughout the twentieth century, and used to just be thought of as an erotic cross-dressing fetish that some men enjoyed.

It sets me wondering what would be a better recipe for happiness, being a man with a cross-dressing fetish he accepts as part of his sexuality; or becoming trans, in which the prospect is of a lifetime's medical treatment because despite what activists claim, trans people do know deep down they can't ever actually change sex? It's like setting oneself up for a lifetime of unhappiness. Whereas maybe just accepting that one is a feminine man with a crossdressing kink and that's okay, might be a better route for a healthy, happy life.

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