Is Roblox Safe for Kids 8 Years Old and Younger?
You’ve probably heard of Roblox. And even if you haven’t, your kids probably have. The online game has taken over the world. But it’s not just the little kids who are playing, big kids, college kids and yes, even adults are obsessed with Roblox games with upwards of 225 million monthly players.
Many parents are thankful to the imagination-based game platform that seems to entrance kids and keep them engrossed for hours on end. However, while Roblox, or similar games like Minecraft, may look like a simple kid’s game, it’s so much more. It might not be age-appropriate for your child.
So what is Roblox, really? Why is every kid so obsessed with it? And most importantly, is Roblox safe for younger kids?
What is Roblox?
According to Roblox, “Roblox’s mission is to bring the world together through playing video games. We enable anyone to imagine, create, and have fun with friends as they explore millions of immersive 3D experiences, all built by a global community of developers.” Roblox is an online storefront and platform where users can go to play games made by other users. But Roblox itself is not a game. Roblox currently has 29.1 million cumulative developers, 11.1 million experiences and 95.1 billion cumulative hours engaged just since January 2018. But how to we keep Roblox safe?
Why is Roblox So Popular with Kids?
Roblox is ranked as one of the top online entertainment platforms for audiences under the age of 18 based on the average monthly visits and time spent on the site (according to Comscore). Popularity is driven solely by the community with millions of new members signing up each day thanks to word of mouth. But how do we keep Roblox kids safe?
The appeal of Roblox to kids is that not only does it have easy-to-use tools and the ability and freedom to create things within the gameplay and set goals, but it’s also a social platform for kids to connect with other players and creators and even create their own games. Just like with all social platforms, kids can find a community of people who share their interests and give feedback with. Plus, players are not just limited to their gaming systems, they can play mobile on iPads, tablets, smartphones, PCs, and Xbox.
Roblox particularly appeals to kids because, like Legos, there are endless possibilities to build in the digital world, even more so. Imagination is the only thing stopping them and Roblox offers players a way to tap into others’ imaginations, building and rebuilding in the worlds of others. One cool aspect of Roblox is that kids can learn to code and build games themselves.
What Content is Age Appropriate for Kids to Play?
Not every game on Roblox is for kids. There are games with more mature content so parents need to be careful that their kids are playing the right games with the right people. There are definitely age-appropriate games available but parents need to keep a close eye that their children are staying in the appropriate Roblox lane. Moms and dads, you are the moderators. Parents should be sure to educate their children on online etiquette and best practices so they are optimizing their playtime, being safe and being good digital citizens and not trolls. You wouldn’t turn your little kids loose at a park in real life with no supervision don’t do it online if for no other reason than for your own peace of mind.
Privacy Features and Parental Controls Roblox Offers Parents
According to Roblox parental controls and parents guide, parents can easily limit or disable online chat capabilities, restrict access to a curated list of age-appropriate experiences and track monthly spending in a secure way.
Since Roblox is made up of players of all ages and levels of common sense they do offer players and parents numerous parental controls and safety features such as:
- All chats on Roblox are filtered to prevent inappropriate content and personally identifiable info from being visible. Players have different safety settings and experiences depending on their age.
- The account’s age group is displayed in the upper-right corner of the browser as 13+ or <13 as there are different levels of appropriateness depending on age.
- Players can limit or disable who can chat with them via chat feature, in-app or in-experience, who can follow them, who can send messages and invite them to private servers.
- Players can block and report others who are harassing, bullying or spamming them.
- With account restrictions, parents can limit the types of experiences kids can play limiting them to only pre-approved games.
- Parents can set up a four-digit pin to lock account settings.
- 2-step verification system that makes it virtually impossible for someone to sign in to the account even if they have the password.
- A Parental Code can be used so that a child cannot change the privacy settings.
Online safety, data protection and monitoring of who kids talk to online.
Since Roblox has a social aspect that keeps kids engaged with other gamers, you don’t really know who is on the other side of the screen. Your child could be playing with little 8-year-old Evan down the road or 45-year-old Ethan in his mom’s basement. Parents need to do their due diligence and monitor their children’s play to keep them safe. There is a single-player option but most kids are there for the multi-player game mode to play with “friends”. It really is a social media starter kit of sorts. It might not be a bad idea to play Roblox with your kid to get a good sense of what’s really going on.
Roblox has a plethora of ways to monitor your child’s account activity. While logged in you can see their Roblox account histories of:
- Small group and direct person-to-person chats
- Private message history
- Friends and followers
- Virtual purchase and trade transaction history
- Recently played
Limit Screen Time and Be Cautious of Cyber Predators
The more time a child spends unsupervised online, the more opportunities for cyber predators to find them and interact with your child. With the social aspect of Roblox there also comes the hidden danger of cyberbullying, exposure to pornography, self-harming and an uptick in teen suicide. The cyber-world is an amazing one but also a cruel and dangerous one. Make sure that your child proceeds with caution and information. According to the Mayo Clinic, the American Academy of Pediatrics discourages media use by children under the age of 2 and recommends limiting older children's screen time to no more than one or two hours a day.
Dangers of Micro-Transactions Online
Roblox is free to download but like most online games there are in-game purchases that cost real money so it’s very important to discuss with your child that game currency is real money before you turn them loose in the Roblox world for hours on end. Believe me, those in-app purchases and cute outfit/ accessory upgrades can easily creep up into the hundreds or even thousands of dollars quickly, especially with a child hitting the buy button.
Does your child play Roblox? Have you played with them? Weigh in by tagging us @familyeducation on Twitter.