ROBLOX is a smash-hit amongst both primary school and younger high school children. But is it safe? What are the risks? Here’s what you need to know about this online gaming platform in order to avoid opening your child’s computer to a world wide web of danger.
What is ROBLOX?
ROBLOX is a free, online space where people from all over the world can create their own fantastical digital landscapes and worlds. It is multi player which means that users can play in the games and worlds that other people have created, and with multiple other people at the same time. There’s no doubt about it, ROBLOX can be great fun! It’s a creative space and its designed to be interactive, so online engagement and chat is a large part of the culture… and this is what we need to be aware of.
Many of the games in ROBLOX are G or PG rated but this is assuming that you have setup the parental controls. Privacy settings and account restrictions should always be enabled for your child’s account. Ensure that you remember to go back and check them from time to time, as our kids are pretty savvy, and know how to work around and remove some of these if they think we’re not watching.
All of this sounds great but this description leaves out something vital. ROBLOX is designed for people aged between 8 and 18 but you have no way of knowing who the people your child is interacting with digitally actually are. There have been many, many reports of inappropriate content being found and accessed on ROBLOX as well as highly inappropriate ‘chat’ features being used between users despite filters being put in place.
How do kids play ROBLOX?
The platform itself and the games available are harmless enough with a little parental intervention to keep the account appropriately restricted. What is difficult to monitor and control, is the online engagement, the chat – the strangers that your kids are playing with. Unlike other platforms you cannot play as a single player or restrict games to friends only. If your child creates their own ROBLOX game, it will be public. This means that they will receive a lot of friend requests and they can then message with strangers directly. You can setup their profile to lock a lot of this down, but it is essential that you speak with your child around your rules for accepting friend requests on ROBLOX and how to unfriend someone if you’ve accidentally accepted a request.
The biggest challenge online is language. Swearing and bad language is prolific! Yes, they have filters to block out the bad words, but remember our kids are savvy so they will write it
the page like that. As a result, filters won’t pick up all the insults and bullying that can occur. ROBLOX can only act if such things are reported, so it’s vital that we teach our kids what to do if this occurs online. Tell your adult/parent/caregiver/grandparent etc, to report them and then block. When a player is blocked, they cannot see you chat, join your games, or send you friend requests.
What is the safety advice in regards to playing ROBLOX?
Adult content and pornography have been prolific on the site and children are routinely approached by other players who are strangers. This can lead to inappropriate message and conversations, and these creeps often ask kids to move to another platform such as Skype to continue the conversations. Sorry kids, but if you want to play ROBLOX, one of our parental rules is you must not ever take a conversation off the platform. It’s a non-negotiable for your safety. Have the same stance about it that you would if your child wanted to meet a stranger at the park. No. Just no! Because it’s not safe and this is not negotiable. Again, parental controls will stop a lot of this interaction, but it’s also important that you are having these conversations with your kids about your family rules for playing online.
So, what should you do right now?
Parental controls. Set them up to the standard that you are happy with for your child. Check the privacy settings and make sure your kids other social media accounts, such as their YouTube channel are not listed. Do not have any personal information in the account settings. It’s not necessary.
You may not be popular for putting in place strict parental controls, so watch out for ghost accounts. These are secondary accounts that kid’s setup that you are unaware of. Be vigilant and check in on their accounts to see what access they have.
You are able to track what your child is doing on ROBLOX. You’ll be able to check their…
- Chat histories
- Friends and followers
- Purchases and trade histories
You’ll also be able to help them with blocking and reporting any inappropriate users. You can find out how to do all this at this link.
Teaching Our Kids about Digital Safety
It’s important to stay on top of things when it comes to the ways our kids interact in the digital world. Don’t assume anything. It’s your responsibility as a parent to ask questions, ask them to show you what they’re doing and to learn as much as you can about the platforms that they’re using.
ROBLOX can definitely be a fun game and can provide enjoyment for all different types of kids but it’s certainly one that we would recommend monitoring.