I-Team: NJ Mom Says Sexual Predator Targeted 12-Year-Old Son on Roblox | NBC New York
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I-Team: NJ Mom Says Sexual Predator Targeted 12-Year-Old Son on Roblox

The mom said her son and another user, who she believes is a 56-year-old man in Virginia, sent thousands of messages to one another

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A tri-state mom who saw the I-Team report on Roblox, an online gaming site for kids that's being frequented by sexual predators, contacted News 4 to tell her story. Pei-Sze Cheng reports.

    (Published Tuesday, April 18, 2017)

    What to Know

    • Roblox is a popular online gaming site for kids that boasts nearly 50 million users a month; the site lets players chat with each other

    • The mother of a 12-year-old boy in New Jersey says her son and another user sent thousands of messages to one another

    • The mom said some of the texts from this other user were "very dark, sexual and violent"

    A mother from New Jersey who believes her 12-year-old son was groomed by a sexual predator he met on the popular gaming platform Roblox contacted NBC 4 New York’s I-Team after watching an I-Team report from earlier this month.

    The mom, who didn’t want to be identified, says her son met a player on Roblox about a year ago.

    “They played on Roblox for almost a year on different games and then my son got a phone and he started texting at the urging of this person,” the mom said.

    Roblox has many games that involve role-playing; it’s made possible with a chat function that the company says is highly regulated.

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    The boy’s mother says the chat filters were able to block curse words and inappropriate language, but couldn’t stop the man from sending his phone number. In just a month’s time, the two sent each other thousands of messages.

    “The texts with this person were very dark, sexual and violent,” the mother said.

    Because her son deleted all the messages, she couldn't read them right away. But through a private investigator, they recovered many of them. And they were able to trace the other player’s phone number.

    “This person told him he was 15,” the mom said. “We were able to trace that number to a 56-year-old man in Virginia.”

    After the texts were discovered, the boy contacted the player through Roblox to warn him.

    The player wrote to the boy: “If they want to clear up the whole predator thing they only need to call… I don't really want to be charged with a felony.”

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    “I read that to mean that he his is a predator,” the mom said. “Who is over the age of 18 and was aware that my son was underage.”

    Roblox, which claims nearly 50 million users a month and says it’s the world’s number one gaming site for kids and teens, told the I-Team that safety is their top priority.

    “There are several safeguards in place to protect our users that utilize current technology and human oversight," a spokesperson for the company said.

    Those safeguards include chat restrictions for users 13 years old and younger.

    The mother says her son's account started off as an under-13 account, but that he changed it at the urging of his so-called friend and never told her about it.

    “This game gives predators an avenue to reach kids that they wouldn’t normally have. It gives them a way to groom them”

    Earlier this month, the I-Team shared the story of a mother in Louisiana who says her 8-year-old boy met a sexual predator on Roblox.

    The mom in New Jersey watched the story and decided to go public with hers.

    “While I was watching the story, besides crying, I was thinking this is our story and this could be happening to thousands of kids and people don't come forward,” she said.

    A Roblox spokesperson told the I-team they are investigating the incident in New Jersey and have blocked the user from playing the game in question as the investigation continues.

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