Play: In “sad rooms” accessed by searching “depressed” on Roblox

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‘I hate myself. I don’t want to be here anymore…”

Hidden within the hugely popular online game Roblox, you’ll find heartbreaking messages like these from children around the world who have come to visit one of the site’s specially designed “depression rooms”.

Although Roblox is aimed at children as young as 13, the reality is that it’s often played by much younger and older people.

As of August 2020, it had over 164 million monthly active users, including more than half of all American children under the age of 16 – and most games allow children to enjoy niche interests via the safe space, the anonymous internet.

Want to travel on the London Underground network? Sure, there’s a card for that.

Do you want to start your own airline? Yes – you can even “hire” a manager and ground crew.

However, beneath the fun maps and team-based activities lies a selection of darker games.

If you search ‘depressed’ on Google, you’ll automatically get organizations like Mind, the NHS and the Mayo Clinic.

For kids searching the same word on Roblox, a very different result appears.

*Warning: Potentially disturbing content and mentions of suicide and self-harm.*

Roblox games app on smartphone screen with blurred game on background. View from above. Rio de Janeiro, RJ, Brazil. June 2021.; Shutterstock ID 1997154221; Confirmation of the order: -; Work: -; Client: -; other: -

Roblox gives kids access to a variety of games created by other players (Image: Shutterstock / Diego Thomazini)

Instead, a selection of “sad” games is laid out on a platter for the user to choose from.

Some are more melancholic, such as a meadow where it’s raining with soft music playing in the background.

However, others include tombstones and the option for a player’s character to “cry” or “weep”.

Then there’s the game where your avatar can settle into a basement with a ladder and a stack of boxes in the dark.

The so-called “depression room” even confirms a sign above the door. Your character will automatically lower his head once sitting on the seat.

From this room you can take the elevator to the top of a skyscraper where your character will stand by the railing and gaze over the blue word “Alone” on a building opposite.

The game had 5.6 million visits and is advertised as “for all ages”.

In one game, the user can sit in a

In one game, the user can sit in a “depressed room” in a dark basement (Image:


Rooms can be found by searching “depressed” on Roblox (Image:

It also redirects users to a group chat called “Sociopath” where a number of young people are obviously making great efforts to help each other.

Among the news from supporters, however, others are far more troubling.

One reads: “2. January 2023: I have to kill someone and break their back.” [sic]

When users stumble across their spelling and clunky messages, it’s a devastating reminder that those making these shocking statements are just kids.

As they bend over a laptop or tablet, they desperately search for answers in a game that once brought them joy – but now also encourages despondency.

‘Pain entrained [sic] my body,” writes one user. Others asked for advice on self-harm.

They describe themselves as “big family” and often wish each other well before leaving the game – a reflection perhaps of the comfort they feel here that they find unattainable in real life.

The dark side of Roblox: where child depression is exploited

Many of the ‘sad room’ related comments are disturbing to read (Image:

Parents don’t know what “scope” children can access in the game, a father tells

The 47-year-old father is now restricting what his 10-year-old son plays.

Henry, not his real name, only realized what his son Murray* was doing when he took the iPad from his hand at their home near Birmingham.

He had urged his son to switch to his homework after the boy spent hours in his online world instead.

Henry says he saw Murray play in the most popular sad room, the “basement” area where the character sits on a lonely chair in a dark room.

“We were concerned that he was spending too much time on Roblox,” explains Henry.

“I was really shocked and really scared for him when I saw him play the sad space.

“I took the iPad from him and even after a few seconds of looking at the screen, I knew something was wrong.

“My heart literally sank when I saw it as the graphics were just something you just don’t associate with a child’s game.”

Despite speaking to his son about the game and its disturbing content, Henry admits he can’t help but worry that his little boy “exists” in the game and not fully in real life.

“My son said some of his online friends showed him the game, so it’s definitely popular with kids,” he explains.

“I’m not sure he knew how serious it was. We make sure to ask him directly how he’s doing and I really don’t know if I’m convinced he left because his online friend did or if he was looking.

Internet charities have also urged parents to sit down with their children to discuss what they’re accessing — and if it’s appropriate.

While there are explicit games on Roblox, luckily they are in the minority.

Ghislaine Bombusa, Head of Digital at Internet Matters, tells “Many parents struggle to understand the concept of Roblox and are confused about how their children are involved. It is therefore important that when your child plays, you get a good understanding.

“All games that are primarily played online come with risks.

A bedroom in the'sad room' where your avatar sits on the edge of the bed and cries (Image:

A bedroom in the ‘sad room’ where your avatar sits on the edge of the bed and cries (Image:

Children are encouraged to access a group chat called'Sociopath' (Image:

Children are encouraged to access a group chat called ‘Sociopath’ (Image:

“However, due to the popularity of Roblox, there are many rumours, fake scare stories and false advice on social media demonizing the game.

“However, it is possible for children to play it safely as long as they have the right level of supervision and understanding from a parent.

“First, parents need to ensure that the content their child engages with on Roblox is age appropriate.

“If you ensure your child’s age is entered into the platform, Roblox will filter the games created for inappropriate images and profanity. There are no age restrictions, but for example nine-year-olds are not allowed to watch content intended for older children.’

Although Roblox’s filtering system, Community Sift, censors and removes most inappropriate messages and content, some still manage to bypass the system.

To combat these issues, the company’s 1,600 employees are working to remove such content from the platform went to Roblox with the above screenshots and videos from the most popular “depression room” on offer.

A spokesperson responded that content or behavior that constitutes or encourages suicide or self-harm is not allowed in the game.

The spokesperson added, “We use a combination of human and machine detection to conduct a security review of all content published on the Roblox platform, including all images, videos and audio files, and our chat filters are designed to ensure that they recognize this language that could indicate an attempt to go against our standards.

“We also recognize that Roblox is an important platform for self-expression and for many, a place to express their true feelings and find empathy and support from others in the community.”

Roblox continues to review its moderation systems and community standards, the spokesperson concluded.

Roblox dances

As of the third quarter of 2022, Roblox 58.8 million daily active users worldwide (Image: Roblox)

However, this isn’t the first time Roblox has come under fire.

While it features many popular and educational games and receives positive reviews from critics, it also faces backlash for its moderation and microtransactions.

The BBC also investigated a “sex problem” found in the game.

The research raised concerns about how often children and adults might play explicit games together.

“We know there is an extremely small subset of users who are intentionally trying to break the rules,” a Roblox spokesperson told the BBC at the time.

“We have zero tolerance for sexual content or behavior of any kind and take quick action against anyone who violates our community standards.”

Henry tells he is now restricting his son Murray’s activities on Roblox and has urged other parents to do the same.

“We have to monitor what our kids are doing and to be honest I wish I’d looked after my son more,” he says.

“I think a lot of us don’t realize how great is what you can do with these games and Roblox should understand that too and take more steps to really protect the kids.

“Kids pour out their courage to those online friends and in those ‘sad rooms,’ but talking about their real-life problems doesn’t help kids — and it’s only going to get worse if nothing is done.”

*Name has been changed

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For more stories like this, Visit our news page. Play: In "sad rooms" accessed by searching "depressed" on Roblox

Justin Scacco

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