If your children enjoy playing online games, one name you may have heard about recently is Roblox.
Roblox, which was launched in 2006, has exploded in popularity among gamers aged 8 and up, and it is now one of the top online entertainment platforms for kids and teens, according to comScore. However, Roblox is not a game. It is a platform that allows anyone to create their own online games using the Roblox Studio game design tool. In some ways, Roblox is similar to YouTube in that it provides people with the tools to create digital content as well as a place to share and enjoy content created by others.
Playing Platform for Entertainment
Roblox games are interactive, social, and multiplayer experiences. In fact, Roblox may be your child’s first introduction to digital socializing. Players can comment and converse with other players within a game, as well as chat with their Roblox friends. Parents can disable Roblox’s social features (see the sidebar “Roblox’s Social Features” for more information). A parent’s guide is also available at corp.roblox.com/parents.
While some parents may be concerned about Roblox’s social features, the social aspect of Roblox can also provide an opportunity for parents to help their children develop good digital habits that will last a lifetime. This is significant because your child is likely to use other social networking platforms that do not provide parental controls at some point.
How to Begin with Roblox
Roblox requires children to enter their birth date when they sign up. Because Roblox has default security and privacy settings that vary depending on a player’s age, it’s critical for kids to enter their correct birth date.
All Roblox games include security and privacy safeguards. Before being posted, user-uploaded images are reviewed by human moderators for inappropriate content. Players over the age of 13 can see and say more words and phrases than younger players, but inappropriate chat and sharing personal information (including phone numbers and addresses) is prohibited regardless of age. Players 13 and up can share links to YouTube channels and some social media usernames.
While the imagery on Roblox has a blocky, digitized appearance, parents should be aware that some of the user-generated games on Roblox may contain themes and/or imagery that are inappropriate for young players.
Although game creators are not required to include a rating or warning, users and parents can limit the games available for play by enabling Account Restrictions.
To begin, stay close by. When they’re first starting out, we recommend that kids (especially younger ones) play with you or another trusted adult nearby. You’ll want to look at the types of games they’re playing, how they’re playing (sportsmanship is important online, too), and with whom they’re interacting.
Community rules apply. Examine Roblox’s Community Rules with your child, especially the “guiding principles” that are simple to grasp.
Reporting and blocking
Because Roblox’s human and digital moderators cannot police every player and game, the company relies on user reports when people break the rules.
Blocking in-game (Note: These steps may vary based on the device):
- Find the user inside of the leaderboard on the upper-right of the game screen (if the leaderboard isn’t there, open it by clicking on your username in the upper-right corner).
- Click on the player you wish to block. Select Block Player.
Blocking on the website or mobile app:
- Visit the player’s profile.
- Click the three dots in the upper right corner.
- Select Block Player.
- Click on the Menu button, located at the upper-left corner of the screen (the Menu icon looks like three lines stacked on top of each other).
- Click the flag icon located next to a player’s name or click the Report tab at the top of the menu.
- Complete the form.
Reporting on the website or mobile app:
Every player-created asset includes a Report Abuse button, which sends a report to Roblox’s moderation system. In most cases, this will be found in red lettering at the bottom of the description box or under the “…” menu in the upper right.
Fill out the form.
For users under the age of 13, Roblox defaults to more restrictive settings. Go to Settings (gear icon) and Parental controls for more parental controls. Parents can disable chat and messaging, limit access to a curated list of age-appropriate games, and set a monthly limit on how much money the child can spend on Roblox’s in-game currency, if any. Parents can also enable an account PIN, which requires a four-digit code to change settings. We recommend that parents use these features when their children are very young or new to the game, but for most families, the goal should be to help children learn to make good decisions on their own as they mature.
Passwords and other personal data Discuss with your children the importance of keeping passwords and other personal information private – even from friends – from an early age. Encourage your child to develop the habit of creating unique passwords using a combination of numbers, letters, and special characters, and to update all passwords on a regular basis. More information is available at ConnectSafely.org/passwords.
Predatory behavior. Although it is uncommon, some adults attempt to prey on children by using online services. Discuss online grooming with your child, including what it is and what to look out for, such as inappropriate or overly personal questions or unsolicited gifts (such as Robux). People with bad intentions may encourage children to “meet” with them on less moderated social media platforms. Discuss this with your child and ask them to come to you if they receive any unusual requests from other players. While parents are most concerned about inappropriate contact with adults, children can be bothered, solicited, and harassed by peers.
Bullying. Bullying can and does occur on Roblox, despite Roblox’s tools for blocking bullying text language whenever possible. Again, discuss with your child what to look out for and how to block and report offenders.
Roblox’s Social Functions
You can prevent your child from chatting and messaging with other Roblox users. Whatever settings you choose, we recommend talking it over with your child. If you restrict your child’s access to Roblox’s social features, consider revisiting these restrictions as he or she grows and matures.
Final Thoughts for Parents
It might seem like only yesterday that your child was learning to play Candy Land. What a simple game that now appears to be! However, you do not need to be an expert to assist your child in remaining safe while playing Roblox or any other online game. Even if you believe your child is more technologically savvy than you, you are still the parent and have a wealth of experience and wisdom that can be applied to most aspects of your child’s life, including the use of technology.
In fact, the “rules” for using any game, app, or service are fairly consistent. Everyone should be respectful of themselves and others, be mindful of what they post, and be aware of how to use any privacy settings, security tools, blocking and reporting mechanisms.
We recommend that you play Roblox with your children to get a sense of the platform and its privacy and security features. This is also a great opportunity to help your child develop critical thinking skills so that no matter what service they use (online or offline), they think about what they’re doing, take actions to protect their privacy, safety, security, and reputation, and keep an eye out for scams and things that aren’t what they appear to be. And, because your child may be (or soon will be) a better Roblox expert than you, it will allow them to be the teacher and you to be the student, which can be a great role reversal.
Your children may be more likely to talk to you about their experiences, both good and bad, if they believe you are knowledgeable about, and even appreciate, their favorite online games and services. As your child grows and matures, it’s critical to maintain open lines of communication and to have ongoing conversations about what’s appropriate for them in terms of privacy settings, time spent online, and the types of activities they’re participating in. It’s generally better to talk with your kids about their favorite apps and services—with genuine interest, not fear—because they’ll come to you when they need help, and you’ll be much more likely to be kept up to date on the technology that they use.
Top 5 Parental Inquiries
1. What exactly is Roblox?
Roblox is an online game creation and sharing platform where anyone can create and share games. On Roblox, there are literally millions of user-generated 3D games. Most games are free to play, while others require “Robux,” the online currency used by players to purchase games and other items such as clothing or accessories. Parents should be aware that the majority of Roblox games include social features such as in-game chat and filtered messaging.
2. What is it about Roblox that appeals to children?
Roblox has millions of games created by talented individuals from all over the world. On virtual “play dates,” kids can interact with real-life friends or play with people they only interact with on the platform.
3. How can I assist my child in remaining safe on Roblox?
Everyone should be respectful of themselves and others, be mindful of what they post, and understand how to use any privacy settings, security tools, or blocking and reporting features, as with any online social experience. Roblox also provides parents with tools to limit certain platform activities, such as chat, and to monitor their child’s account activity.
4. Is it okay for my child to play Roblox with people he or she does not know?
There is no one-size-fits-all solution for every child or family. Roblox does give you a lot of control over who can and cannot interact with your child. You have the ability to control who can message them and who can chat with them.
5. How much screen time should my child have?
This is a more difficult question to answer than it appears. The American Academy of Pediatrics recently revised its screen time recommendations and no longer suggests arbitrary limits. Of course, no online activities should interfere with sleep, exercise, homework, or family time, and children should have set times when they are allowed to “play” online. And, as with soccer or any other sport, it is preferable for children to understand when they can and cannot play rather than being arbitrarily kicked off by their parents without notice.
Source: Connect Safely