Kids love playing games. Sports games, make-believe games, board games, and even video games. Playing is an important part of child development. Let’s take a look at one of the most popular video games in the world and whether or not it’s safe for kids.
What is Roblox?
When you hear about Roblox, you might assume it’s similar to Fortnite and Minecraft. Simply another popular game that kids like to play. However, the truth is more complicated. Roblox is an online hub for a plethora of online games, communities, and lobbies. It’s an online multiplayer game that lets players interact and play games together. These games are made by other users and developers. Because of the nature of the game, it can be hard to pin down what it is, not to mention find out if it’s safe and why kids want to play it.
How Do You Play Roblox?
Roblox has 150 million monthly users (as of 2020). There is a chat feature and in-game store that lets players create an in-game persona. The games vary from playing house to murder-survival to recreations of other popular entities. This can make it difficult to gauge whether or not the entire game is safe as a whole for kids. For example, Squid Game is a popular show on Netflix that’s rated TV-MA (17+) and isn’t appropriate for kids, but there are numerous re-creations of the show on Roblox.
Let’s Talk Safety.
As an online game, Roblox has a lot of risks for kids: everything from scams to predators. Even the average in game interactions can have risks. BBC interviewed parents about what happened to their children while playing on Roblox. One woman’s son was groomed into sending explicit images on a third-party app, and a father intentionally played the game to see what happened to young players and was shocked by the sexualized situations created by the other players. Although Roblox has banned players for misconduct, inappropriate situations still took place and permanently impacted the kids who played.
Like with social media and chat rooms, online content can’t be completely monitored, despite the safety features Roblox has put into place. These include increased chat filtering, more secure friends settings, and content filtering. Roblox also allows you to view account activity and to set up a pin to lock the features. Another safety feature is the ability to block other players from interacting with you.
The Roblox safety features don’t protect your child from everyone or everything out there. There is the risk of kids being “catfished” by other players who aren’t who they say they are. There are also potentially dangerous adoption games and online dating games that can also draw curious kids in.
Some of the games also contain violence or drug and alcohol consumption. Some players have gotten around the built-in chat safeties for kids with “bypassed audio.” This lets them get around moderators and use swear words, racial slurs, or offensive songs.
As a parent, you should teach your children to never share private information online. With a game like Roblox that lets you chat freely with other players, make sure they understand cyber safety. Part of that is setting up a secure password and never sharing it with other players.
Safety goes beyond player interactions or gameplay, though.
Money, Robux, and Scams.
While there is a plethora of free content on Roblox, there is also content that requires a paid account or in-game currency. These aspects mean that if you allow your child to play Roblox, you need to make sure they understand digital money, specifically how money works inside of Roblox. Like with other games, Roblox uses a digital currency that needs to be purchased with real money. These Robux can be purchased on the game, starting at $4.99 for 400 Robux.
Kids want things cheap, or better, free. Let them know that any offers online for free Robux is too good to be true. They are a scam. There are Youtube videos, websites, and yes, even apps, that offer free Robux. These are all scams. Roblox encourages everyone to report links or videos that offer free Robux.
Earning Robux Officially Through Roblox.
Roblox rewards developers with monetization when they create content for the game. Players can purchase items inside Roblox using Robux and those Robux go to the developer. The developer can then cash out their Robux for real world money. The requirements are that the developer be at least thirteen years old, have a premium account, and have at least 100,000 of earned Robux. If your teen has an interest in game developing or graphic design, Roblox can be a testing ground for their ideas that can even make them money.
The Fun Stuff: Why Do Kids Play?
With so much of our world now being present in a digital realm, it’s probable that your kids are going to ask to play or watch something you aren’t familiar with. Even if your kids aren’t allowed to play games or watch Youtube, they can hear about Roblox from friends and decide to try out the game themselves. There are good aspects to the game that your kid may use to persuade you to get the game for them: Roblox lets you play games, socialize, customize, and create. You can even earn money.
But how does this balance out? Is Roblox safe enough for kids to play? Roblox is not safe for kids and still has risks for teens and adults. Like with any game, it’s important that you, the parent, are aware of what your child consumes. This includes content on Roblox and other platforms. This content, found on platforms such as Youtube or Tiktok videos, can also be explicit.
What are the Alternatives?
There are safe alternatives to Roblox, such as Minecraft, Terraria, or Lego Worlds, that let kids scratch that creative itch. Offline video games are much safer for our kids to consume because they lack the numerous dangers of online games. Troomi has also developed a smartphone for kids with Kidsafe apps (including games) and the ability to set time limits. This enables kids to use tech to learn and play responsibly. Check out Troomi for a plan that’s right for your family.