Is Roblox Really Safe for KidsMay 3, 2022 | 0 Votes
Developed and launched by Roblox Corporation in 2006, Roblox is a massively multiplayer online (MMO) gaming platform that hosts user-created games of multiple genres coded in the Lua programming language—a lightweight, high-level, multi-paradigm programming language designed primarily for embedded use in applications which is quite fairly simple to use that children with rudimentary computer coding skills are able to create gaming environments with relative ease.
Roblox Studio (which enables users to create their own game or virtual hangout right in the Roblox server) tools are relatively easy for coding novices from the age of 8 to learn. Most importantly, for children interested in developing their own games, Roblox Studio’s controlled environment provides a non-threatening space to experiment and ultimately succeed in developing a real game.
The millions of games on Roblox are free to download and play, but it also allows in-game upgrades and accessory purchases in the form of their virtual currency called Robux, which you can purchase on their Roblox mobile, browser, and Xbox One apps. While purchasing Robux is not a requirement to play—and many players enjoy Roblox without spending a cent— the ability to acquire additional in-game items no doubt enhances the gaming experience as players can use Robux to obtain new clothes, accessories, and gear for their avatar, as well as an upgrade to special abilities, bonus in-game content, and gain access to certain user-created games. The minimum amount of Robux you can purchase starts at 400 for $4.99, but the “exchange rate” becomes slightly more favorable the more you purchase, up to 10,000 Robux for $99.99.
Furthermore, you can purchase a premium membership called Roblox Premium (formerly “Builder’s Club”). Premium has 3 paid monthly subscription plans (Premium 450 for $4.99/mo; Premium 1000 for $9.99/mo; and Premium 2200 for $19.99/mo. Each subscription plan also includes additional perks such as, Premium benefits within experiences, exclusive Avatar Shop items and discounts, a Robux “stipend”, and the ability to trade items.
Meanwhile, their platform does not endorse any “Robux Generators.” If a person, website, or game tries to tell you there is one, this is a scam and should be reported via Roblox’s Report Abuse system.
With so many minors using Roblox, parents are understandably concerned about what types of games their children are playing, who exactly they’re playing with, and if they are spending money on the platform (and if so, how much?). The popularity of Roblox may cause parents to consider if the platform’s multiplayer format and wide-open communication channels are safe for their kids to engage in. Let's find out!
What can kids learn in Roblox?
Roblox espouses “Constructionism Theory,” a theory originally posed by Seymour Papert of MIT Media Lab, which posits the idea that children learn best when they are in the active roles of designer and builder and that this learning is accelerated when they assume these roles in a public forum.
Roblox has since been observed to encourage users to engage deeply with building complex structures and solving difficult problems, knowing that the fruits of their labor will be seen and played by others. Millions of children have used Roblox to create exciting, complex universes; build out-of-this-world vehicles, and mold diverse characters, providing a fun, supportive, and educational space where your child’s imagination can thrive.
And while the main purpose of Roblox is for kids to have fun; a huge side benefit is its ability to teach kids basic skills in coding, game design, and entrepreneurship – skills that are all applicable to real life, whether it’s applying these concepts to a school project, building teamwork, or even inspiring a career in STEM when they grow up.
There are millions of games available on Roblox that you can play with your kids, such as the popular pet simulator Adopt Me!, the entrepreneurial and money management game Work at a Pizza Place, and the community-building world of Bloxburg. With these games, you can help your children develop skills and values such as collaboration and cooperation, socialization and communication, problem-solving, creativity, digital citizenship, responsibility, entrepreneurship, and more.
Community and online
Roblox is dedicated to continually developing cutting-edge technologies to ensure the Roblox platform remains a safe and fun space for players worldwide. Some of the technologies they have put in place to ensure the online Roblox community is secure include:
Account Privacy. Users ages 13 and over can customize their account privacy settings. For users aged 12 and under, Roblox ensures extra safety and privacy precautions by automatically enforcing more restricted settings so they can only send a direct message to other users that are accepted as friends on Roblox. Account Restriction settings can limit users to a curated list of age-appropriate games on the platform and prevent them from chatting with non-approved users. An Account PIN setting is also available, which requires a 4-digit code to make changes to the account settings.
Avatar Clothing Detection. An automated detection feature ensures that all players are wearing appropriate attire within the avatar editor and avatar thumbnails.
Reporting System. Players can report inappropriate chat messages or content by using the Roblox Report Abuse system, located throughout the site and in-game.
Chat Filters. Roblox’s state-of-the-art filtering system uses a combination of chat filters—both human and AI moderation—to proactively remove inappropriate content from the platform. Moreover, when a user ages 12 and under signs up on Roblox, they are automatically placed on controlled privacy settings to only send a direct message to other users who are accepted as friends on Roblox. The platform also allows parents to restrict or disable chat entirely throughout the site and in-game by choosing “Friends” or “No One.” In addition, players can also control settings that allow them to block certain individuals from chatting with them on the site and in-game.
Finally, as part of their commitment to community safety, Roblox has formed a Trust & Safety Advisory Board comprised of world-renowned digital safety authorities with whom Roblox collaborates to promote a family-friendly, safe and enjoyable environment for everyone.
Is the game safe/appropriate for kids?
First off, parents should make sure that their child registers an accurate birthdate on Roblox to enable automatic filtering and other protections specifically designed to protect children under 13.
Roblox has an ESRB (Entertainment Software Rating Board—a regulatory organization that assigns age and content ratings to consumer video games in the United States and Canada) rating of E10+ for Everyone 10 and up for Fantasy Violence. It is also rated PEGI 7 in the UK, with rating details that explicitly say there is no blood. Overall, children can play Roblox safely and enjoyably with little supervision and understanding.
And while Roblox proactively monitors the content created on its platform and constantly filters and checks the games that are being created both for inappropriate images and profanity using a team of 2,300 people plus AI; with over 70 million active users a month, some offensive communications or user-generated content do occasionally manage to slip through the cracks. It is still possible for kids to come across inappropriate images and language and sexual content, such as in so-called “Condo games” that often feature adult content, simulated sex acts, images, and language.
When cases of inappropriate content arise, parents can take advantage of Account Restriction settings and reporting systems discussed above. Therefore, it is imperative for parents to familiarize themselves with Roblox’s parental controls and consistently monitor their child’s online activity to ensure they are shielded from inappropriate content or communications.
In-game elements to talk to your kids about
With millions of users worldwide and from all walks of life having a platform to create, interact, and communicate with each other, naturally, there will be numerous opportunities for potential conflicts to arise. Fortunately, Roblox allows your child to block and report annoying or disruptive players or inappropriate content. As concerned, attentive parents, you should make sure they (and you) know how to do so.
In relation to this, Roblox also becomes an especially apt platform to bring up discussions about online etiquette and privacy, including sharing personal information or passwords online.
Concerned about the amount of time or money your child spends playing Roblox? Obviously, parents shouldn’t give their children access to their credit card information. Not only does it make common sense not to prevent them from buying everything to their heart’s content, but Roblox is full of advertising and clever enticements to buy its Robux currency. If your kids want to purchase Robux, you should do the purchasing yourself, set a firm limit on how much money your child can spend, and make sure not to accidentally save the credit card information on their device for future use.
Finally, consider using parental tools such as Microsoft’s Family Settings, Google’s Family Link, and Apple’s Screen Time so that you can control exactly when or how long your child is permitted to play Roblox games on their mobile devices or desktops to make sure they get their homework done or don’t stay up past their bedtime.