Are Your Kids Safe? Roblox Is the Latest App for Child Predators

Sergei Elagin /
Sergei Elagin /

Somehow this story seemed to go right under the radar of most mainstream media sources (funny how that goes). An 11-year-old girl was taken from her loving home by a 27-year-old man back on September 10th. Despite residing over the state border and 140 miles away, Darius Matylewich was able to connect with this child and lure her away. Caught the same day, he is charged with kidnapping and endangering the welfare of a child.

Taking her from her hometown of Wayne, NJ to his residence in the small sleepy town of Bear, Delaware, and so far, his lawyer has been mum on the subject. Arrested and extradited immediately to New Jersey, he will have spent more than a month locked up, with the first possible hearing for release delayed until at least October 20th.

According to Jennifer Fetterman, chief assistant prosecutor with the Passaic County Prosecutor’s Office, the duo were able to connect over the Roblox gaming platform. Speaking to WPVI-TV in Philadelphia, PA, they claimed they tried contacting authorities to help with the investigation. In a statement, they declared their quest to prevent grooming on their platform. They claim their moderators know the standards and uphold them.

On their website, Roblox provides resources to comfort parents and help keep their kids safe. “Safety and civility are foundational to everything we do. We’ve built a platform with industry-leading safety and civility features. We continuously evolve our platform as our community grows and evolves.”

However, Former FBI Special Agent in Charge Richard Frankel paints a different picture for 6 ABC Philadelphia.

“It’s actually pretty easy for an 11-year-old and a 27-year-old to talk on, really, almost any platform. Social media platforms, as well as the gaming platforms, have security protocols and preferences that are there based upon age-appropriate use. And those protocols can be handled or changed by the user.”

Just looking at their website, it’s clear that they aren’t making this the right way. Instead of just capping the age, they put minimums there. Ages 9, 13, and 17 all have their own minimums but no ceiling for how old their new “friends” can be. Just looking at that alone, it’s clear to see that Roblox is nothing but a predator’s goldmine. By leveling off at these ages where they do, they speak specifically towards the ages most separated by pedophiles.

As parents scramble for ways to keep their kids safe, most of us are reminded of simpler childhoods. For some, that’s one with no TV, others remember not having the internet. Neither of those applies to this generation. As fast as we evolved as a nation during the Industrial Revolution, we made leaps and bounds with our changes in entertainment and global connectivity.

With changes in our society coming a mile a second thanks to the information superhighway, many people find themselves out of touch and outdated once they finally fully understand a new service, app, or device. That also usually means a new model is already out, or in production. For the younger generations, it means it’s now time to upgrade and get the faster unit. It also means new loopholes to exploit and ways to defeat parental locks.

Thinking they are more mature than they are, they find ways to exploit these vulnerabilities and end up finding themselves talking with someone like Matylewich on the other end of the conversation. No matter how “pure” his intentions may be, he isn’t “misunderstood,” and these children aren’t “mature for their age” either. They are kids and deserve all our safeguards. While the days of playing until the streetlights come on with no worries are long gone in many areas, playing inside isn’t much safer. These pederasts make it their goal to get into your home and at your kids.

Perhaps it’s time we nip the bud at the source once it identifies itself.