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What is Roblox? Alberta police warn parents about predators on online gaming platform

Sgt. Kerry Shima of the Internet Child Exploitation Unit (ICE) speaks to reporters on March 9, 2023. (David Ewasuk/CTV News Edmonton) Sgt. Kerry Shima of the Internet Child Exploitation Unit (ICE) speaks to reporters on March 9, 2023. (David Ewasuk/CTV News Edmonton)
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A Mountie with Alberta's Internet Child Exploitation (ICE) Unit wants parents to be aware that predators are luring children on an online gaming platform called Roblox.

Roblox allows people to create and play games with other users, but officers have noticed an increase in the number of Alberta kids aged eight to 11 being lured from the site

An RCMP officer says kids are first contacted there and directed to apps like Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat where predators then ask the child for nude photos or to perform sexual acts.

"Roblox looks and presents as a friendly and accommodating atmosphere for children and that sometimes gets parent's guards down as well," Sgt. Kerry Shima said Monday.

"Wherever there's going to be kids there may be people who are looking to exploit or take advantage of them. The online environment makes it a lot easier for these predators to access the kids…A lot of these platforms are like this."

Sgt. Shima said Roblox is not the only platform being used in this way and he urged parents to discuss internet safety with their kids for any app they use.

He says there's no need to interrogate children, but it can be helpful to ask questions like, "How's the game going?", "Are you chatting with anyone?" or "Are you making new friends?"

He said it's important to note that it is never a child's fault when they are lured by an adult and it's important to tell them that.

Roblox does have a section for parents on its website which includes information about parental controls, chat filters and reporting abuse.

ICE includes officers from RCMP, Calgary Police Service, Edmonton Police Service, Lethbridge Regional Police Service and Medicine Hat Police Service. Complaints can be made by contacting local police.

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