“While Roblox is a lot of interaction between children and other children, as with many interactive platforms, there are also adult predators lurking on Roblox,” says Josh Nelson, campaign director at ParentsTogether. This non-profit organization that focuses on families has more than 2.5 million members.
We will be discussing Roblox, the potential risks involved, and what you can do to keep your child safe.
What is Roblox?
Roblox, which is advertised as an “imagination platform”, can be found on all smartphones, tablets, and computers. Users can upload their games to a proprietary program called Roblox Studio, where they can play in a global community. Titania Jordan, chief parenting officers of Bark parental-control app and author of Parenting in the Tech World, explained that Roblox is a free game-creation platform.
Roblox LUA codes explain that this allows players to build the ultimate theme park or compete in professional race cars, a star on a fashion show, be a superhero, design their dream home, and just hang out with their friends.
Jordan says that the platform provides thousands of user-created games for free. It’s very popular with all ages. However, its simple-to-use functionality and creative tools make it particularly appealing to young gamers.
Common Sense Media reports that users have unlimited access to all games, but the platform also has its own currency called “Robux.” Robux can be used to buy additional features. Kids will probably want to subscribe to the Builders Club which provides additional features in exchange for a fee.
What age should children be to play Roblox?
http://www.commonsensemedia.org/blog/parents–ultimate-guide–to-roblox-0#What%20is%20Roblox? title=”(opens a new window)”>Common Sense Media rates this platform OK for users aged 13+ “based upon continuing challenges with problematic material, but it could be OK for children younger than that if account restrictions were turned off and parents closely monitor their children’s activities on the platform.”
Experts warn parents about the risks of Roblox
Experts warn parents that these issues could be troubling:
Any platform can cause troubling interactions.
Jordan points out that Roblox, like many other gaming platforms, has some elements of self-policing, including moderators, but that there are always ways for people with bad intentions to get into Roblox and your child’s chat rooms.
She cites a case from the U.K. where a mother discovered her son was being groomed on the platform. This led to him receiving explicit images via a third-party chat application that is not associated with Roblox. Nelson said ParentsTogether also received reports from members about the disturbing contacts their children had on Roblox, including one 7-year old girl in Massachusetts who was “contacted” by someone wanting to send her photos because she wanted to be her friend.
Nelson says that reports indicate that predators may be using Roblox to start conversations, then switching to an app that allows images to share like Snapchat.
Jordan says, “Remember that Roblox is a collaborative platform where users can share their experiences.”
“Condo games” could expose children to inappropriate content.
Nelson warns parents about the dangers of so-called “condo-games” –user-generated games with adult content such as graphic images and inappropriate language. He notes that Roblox has taken steps to curb these games but they continue to show up, forcing them to play “whack-a-mole”.
Roblox’s Safety Initiative
Roblox responds to the concerns by stating that the platform was created for children and teens and is committed to safety. Tami Bhaumik (VP of Digital Civility at Roblox) states that “we have a responsibility for making sure our players learn, create and play safely.” “This will not change and it continues to be our top priority.”
She also stated that there is a human review team that monitors safety in various languages. They are vigilant for chat behavior that indicates an attempt to move a player to less restrictive third-party chat apps. For users younger than 13, filters are more strict, including blocking any use of numbers or potentially personally identifiable information. It does not allow one-to-one interactions or the sending of images and video via chat.
Roblox provides regular updates and a Parents Guide to help you keep up with the latest developments in their safety system.
Roblox: How to keep your child safe
Experts suggest that the following actions could help protect children from predators.
Get familiar with the parental controls.
Nelson suggests that understanding all parental control options should be your first step in any new platform, app, or game your child is interested in trying.
All of the experts that we spoke to recommend playing the game together with your child, to better understand it and be better equipped to assist them.
He says, “It’s also important that parents understand that no parental control system can be perfect.” Roblox has millions of users, and anyone can create new games. There will always be risk on a platform like Roblox.”
You can use parental controls.
Bark suggests that parents disable chat functionality for their children, particularly if they aren’t supervising play.
You can set Account Restrictions to make sure that your child cannot send messages or chat in-app or online. When Account Restrictions is turned on, none of these settings can individually be adjusted.
Bark suggests that Roblox be set up with parental controls by following these steps:
- Log in to your account
- Click hereGearClick on the icon and then clickSettings.
- To the right of theSettingsClick here to go to pagePrivacy.
- You can change both from hereContact UsAndOther settings.
- You can choose if your child is older than 12 years oldFriendsOrNo one. There are other options available for interaction with players if your child is older than 13.
“Parents who need additional control should visit the Security section on the AccountJordan says that the Settings page is where they can set a PIN and other account restrictions. Jordan explains that they can create a PIN or other account restrictions here.
Children who are allowed to chat should be reminded to follow safe practices.
Common Sense Media urges parents to encourage their children to avoid chatting with strangers (unless they can prove they are a friend or a friend in real life), and not to accept PMs from people they don’t know.
They advise that children should not give out personal information and trust their instincts if they are made uncomfortable.
Do not allow your children to play behind closed doors.
Nelson says that children should be allowed to play Roblox in an open area with parents, where they can monitor them.
Keep your children from changing their accounts.
Jordan says that parents can also create a PIN code to stop them from changing their accounts without permission. This could be used to give themselves greater play access or prevent them from making any other changes. This allows parents to create their own game lists and allow their children to play them.
Keep communication open.
Nelson suggests that you have open and direct conversations with your child, regardless of whether you are supervising them on the platform. This will ensure that your child understands that they can talk to you if anything happens online that isn’t right for them. Nelson says that having these conversations on a regular basis, and even checking in occasionally to see how they are doing on the platform, can help you spot any potential problems.
The bottom line
Roblox is safe for children if parents follow our recommendations. It is best to make it a family rule that your children play Roblox together, where you can monitor their activities.