What Is Roblox and Is It Safe for My Kid?
With nearly 60 million daily active users worldwide, Roblox is one of the most popular apps among kids and teens. At first glance, Roblox seems like a great game that fosters creativity and collaboration. But is it really safe for your kid? Let’s take a closer look at it.
Roblox was launched in 2006 and really gained momentum during the pandemic. Today, it’s one of the most successful apps of all time, with over 500 million downloads in Google’s PlayStore alone. It’s not only available on mobile, but also on PC, Mac, Xbox and Fire OS. This wide accessibility on different platforms is one of the reasons Roblox has become so popular.
Before we get into the details, you should know that Roblox is aimed at kids and teens. And they love it. This is reflected in the numbers: 67% of Roblox users are under 16 years old.
What Is Roblox?
Roblox is a free gaming and social platform that offers millions of games in various genres: Adventure, Roleplay, Battles, Obstacle Courses, and more. Any user can join these open-world games or “experiences” and interact with other players.
You can connect and chat with your friends, as well as with people you meet through the platform and chat with them. If you’re a verified user over the age of 13, you can use Spatial Voice Chat, a feature that allows you to talk to players within the same game.
What makes Roblox special is that all these games are created by users worldwide. The app provides the platform, environment and tools, leaving it up to their users’ imagination to create their own three-dimensional experiences with Roblox Studio. And it works: There are now over 9 million experiences available on Roblox.
With more than 9 million games, it's hard to get bored. (Source: Roblox)
3 Reasons Why Roblox Is So Popular With Kids
1. Roblox stimulates creativity.
If your kid wants to create their own game in Roblox Studio, they can let their imagination run wild - and learn a coding language called Lua along the way. Your kid can also customize their avatar, which is automatically assigned to them when they sign up for Roblox. They can change their character’s visual appearance - great fun for kids.
2. Roblox is collaborative.
Since Roblox is a multi-player platform, your kid can play, chat and have fun with their friends and people from all over the globe. It’s a great opportunity for them to practice their social skills, learn how to overcome challenges, and get feedback from their peers. Players on Roblox can also trade items to change their avatar and learn how to negotiate.
3. Roblox offers a huge selection of games.
With over 9 million games available, it’s hard for your kid to get bored. While some of them provide “just” entertainment, others can be educational and teach your kid skills such as problem solving, decision making, or responsibility.
Kids love to change the visual appearance of their avatars. (Source: Roblox)
3 Risks Parents Need to Know About
1. Ill-intentioned Adults and Cyberbullies
Roblox is designed to be interactive and social, and it’s possible to make friends from all over the world. But as with other online platforms, your kid may encounter people who don’t have good intentions and may want to get personal information (or worse). The chat option also makes it possible for bullies to harass other users.
2. Inappropriate Content
Parents should be aware that there are games with adult content on Roblox. Some of them imply or show violence, involve murder, weapons or zombies, depicting them as something fun. It’s clearly not good for young minds and their development to be exposed to such content.
If your kid’s already on Roblox, they may have asked you if they can buy Robux. This is the platform’s virtual currency. In case you were wondering how Roblox earns money, here’s the answer. While Roblox is for free, it’s a lot more fun if you put some money down. Robux can be purchased with real money or earned during gameplay. Unfortunately, there are a number of users trying to scam others into buying “free” Robux.
Is Roblox Safe for Your Kid?
Roblox is safer than many other apps and social media platforms but can only be recommended to parents who are prepared to take an active role in their kid's online gaming experiences, ensuring they are safe, age-appropriate, and beneficial. That being said, the Roblox company has introduced a couple of safety features for its young audience:
- For kids under 12, chats filtered for inappropriate content. This means that some words and phrases are blocked and won’t be displayed. Note that this feature has its limitations. Users have found ways to bypass the filter. For example, the word kiss is blocked, so players use KS instead.
- The platform has introduced an age-verification tool when signing up for an account.
- A mechanism ensures that all avatars wear appropriate clothing.
- Roblox has a relatively easy-to-use system for reporting abuse.
What can you do?
Talk about the risks.
Have an open-minded conversation with your kid before allowing them to join Roblox. Address topics like password security, online grooming, bullying and online etiquette. And, as always, reassure your kid that they can turn to you at any time if something doesn’t sit right with them.
Set up an account for your kid.
If your kid is under 12, be sure to set up an account for them. This way, Roblox’s filter mechanism will be applied. Choose a secure password that they can remember and think of a neutral username that doesn’t reveal any personal information, such as their date of birth or last name. If your kid is older, supervise the process.
Set additional parental controls.
Under Settings (gear icon) -> Parental Controls, you can disable chats or messaging, restrict access to games, or set a 4-digit PIN to prevent your kid from making any changes to settings. These are good options for newbies and young kids.
Limit play time.
It’s easy to lose track of time when playing Roblox games. Avoid overuse and set time limits from the beginning. With Ohana, you can set schedules so both you and your kid stick to a certain limit.
Check in regularly.
Have frequent conversations with your kid about Roblox. Ask them what games they like to play. If you want to be very involved, create your own account and play Roblox games with your kid. This might also help you understand what all the fuss is about.
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