Online gaming is now an integral part of a child’s upbringing. Gone are the days of simply turning off the tv and screentime was over. Whether it’s Minecraft, Fortnite or the increasingly popular Roblox, one thing is for certain, your kids will be addicted to one or all of them at some point.
With over 150 Million users each month, the question of – is Roblox safe for kids – is certainly relevant. After some considerable research, the answer I’ve reached is yes, but… That’s a yes with the provision that you as a parent invest the time to understand the traps, as well as educate and monitor your children to ensure their experiences on Roblox are safe.
What is Roblox?
Put simply, Roblox is both a browser and App-based platform where users can build and play user-generated games, all for free. Spanning the globe, children of all nationalities can interact and play together seamlessly. To the untrained eye, most of the games appear low quality and confusing. This is part of the attraction for kids, as parents will give them ‘enough rope’ assuming the games are generally harmless. For the most part, they are right as Roblox is quite a safe platform. However, if you take some time to stay one step ahead, you’ll not only ensure Roblox is safe for your children, but also find it easier to talk to them!
Robux – While the games themselves are free, the platform has its own currency called Robux. This is purchased with real money, via a gift card (which can be purchased on the platform or several retailers) or through a Roblox Premium Membership (subscription service).
Robux has different uses depending on the game, but generally, it’s for equipment and accessories. There is a huge commercial aspect to these games, which, unsurprisingly targets the competitiveness and peer group pressure of kids to desperately want whatever it is Robux purchases.
With that in mind, ensure your credit cards are password protected (PayPal too!). Take the opportunity to financially educate your kids about the tactics and techniques games use to extract money out of you.
Start by adjusting the Parental Controls
The developers are very aware of the need to make Roblox safe for children. They are constantly improving the platform, closing any loopholes as they arise. As a first step, start with the Parental Controls. Ensure you are logged in to you child’s Roblox account, then click on the Settings button (gear icon) in the top right corner of your main Profile page.
- Account info – Ensure the birth year is correct to automatically calculate the users age, relevant in the security tab below. Check in the Profile page at the top right corner of the screen that it is correct, either <13 or +13 as appropriate.
- Security – For the strictest settings (with young kids), select the Account Restriction toggle to ON. This only allows games which Roblox consider to be curated content *this restricts most of the games if <13*. You can also toggle to ON the Account Pin to lock the settings and prevent the kids from changing the settings.
- Privacy – Select the chat settings as appropriate.
Is the chat safe on Roblox?
By far the greatest concern most parents have regarding Roblox is the chat, and in particular, is Roblox safe for my child?
Technically the chat function is easy to access on Roblox. Anyone can log in, create a profile then chat to our kids. However, Roblox has invested considerable efforts to make this safe. Expletives are censored automatically, and there is a team of moderators keeping an eye on live chats. Chat is only allowed between friends, and friends of friends. This is far from fool-proof however, so education is key to ensure Roblox remains safe.
The best advice to ensure your kids don’t get lured by predators is to NEVER be convinced to chat on another platform outside of Roblox. Educate your kids on why people may want to get them out of the safety of the Roblox chat environment.
How to monitor your childs account
Firstly ensure you are logged into your child’s account. After that, you can check out the below account details –
- Chat history can be viewed in the chat box at the bottom right of the main home page.
- The private message folder can be found in the main menu on the left under the messages tab.
- Robux transaction details can be seen by clicking on the Robux image in the top right corner. This will open the ‘My Transactions’ folder.
- Friends list can be accessed under your profile name on the Home page
Some dangers for kids on Roblox
Ever heard of ODers? Neither had I… So this is a new term for Online Daters!?! Quite a common practice on Roblox. All the kids need to do is type into the game search ‘boys and girls..’ and they’ll find some suspicious-looking games with possible sexual content. Roblox is working hard to shut these games down, however, provided the Account Restrictions tab is ON then young kids won’t be allowed in.
Do take some time to chat to your older kids about the ODer term, as it’ll appear in chat boxes.
Safety tips for Adopt Me on Roblox
One of the most popular games, particularly with the younger kids is Adopt Me. But how safe is Adopt Me? These are a few considerations for the game that you should be aware of.
- Scammers – users can make real money by selling highly desirable pets over eBay, Facebook etc. This brings out the scammers, who can quite easily fool young kids into handing over their prized pets. It’s worth having an idea about the different levels of pets (and their desirability) in the game. Have a read here to educate yourself and your kids to avoid falling into the scammers traps.
- Fake YouTubers – there are so many ‘famous’ Adopt Me YouTubers now. When kids have watched someone on ‘tv’ they are more likely to trust them. This potentially could be an opportunity for predators to pretend to be a famous YouTuber, and lure the kids off the game.
- Robux – It takes quite some time to build up to some great pets, houses and toys on Adopt Me. This can be fast-tracked by buying and trading items purchased with Robux, so expect the kids to come asking!
Further Parental Internet Controls
No-one wants to admit their kids are becoming addicted to screens, but they certainly wouldn’t be alone if they did. The impulse is simply too strong for most kids, that barriers in the form of internet moderators are often required.
The big tech companies are realising how important screen time controls are, so have implemented some great parental control settings. Depending on your setup, one or many of the free options below are worth considering –
- Microsoft’s Family Settings
- Apple Screen Time
- Google Family Link
- Many routers have built-in family safe options
A further paid option is a great new all-in-one program by Family Zone. Designed to be a complete internet filter and monitoring package, this program has some handy settings which limit individual devices access to both specific programs (eg YouTube) as well as the internet altogether.
Ultimately, Roblox is a safe platform. However, the main points to consider are –
- Educate your kids on the dangers of predators, and
- Don’t add anyone to their friends list that they don’t know
- Emphasise that they should NEVER chat to anyone on platforms outside of the game
- Check that the chat and privacy settings are appropriate
- Ensure the age setting is correct
- Consider setting up software to control and limit screen time
- Have an open-door policy when playing the game, rather than allow them to hide in their room
- Show some interest, get involved and play together. In return, the kids will be more open and honest about their gaming experiences