Roblox is a game creation platform where 8-18 year olds make and publish their own games
and play other peoples'.
There is a visible chat feature to talk with other people as they play, make in app purchases and be added to games by people they don’t know. Cripes! You might be thinking. This is why this popular game is fraught with risks and why so many children are reporting online abuse, unsuitable content and stranger contact.
Interestingly, only 16% of children told the NSPCC NetAware campaign that they thought it was risky. 47% parents report seeing violence and hatred on the platform. Children love this game because of the range of games, the ability to play with other people and because they can create their own characters' games.
The first thing parents and players should realise is anyone of any age can play on Roblox, just because it says it’s for 8-18’s doesn’t stop adults using this platform to approach children.
So what can you do to keep your child safe when playing Roblox?
First of all, show an interest in what your child does online by talking to them. Make the effort and find the time (in your hectic lives) to take a look when they want to show you something they’re proud of or pleased about and they are excited to show you. Make sure they understand the importance of protecting their identity and personal information and why they shouldn’t give this away to strangers without scaring them. The NSPCC have a helpful page of advice about this.
Secondly, use the Roblox parent controls section to switch on privacy and restrict who they can talk to on every device they access the game on. They have a pin code facility so that you can lock the settings. This Parent Controls film from Roblox shows you how to do this.
We agree with Roblox when they suggest a two step verification process to access an
account, reducing the risk of strangers accessing your child’s account. You can find out how to do this here.
Thirdly, use the Roblox settings for under 13's. These are additional safety features, so ensure your child is registered with the right age. Players under the age of 13 have a <13 symbol next to their username on the game at all times, this is not displayed to other players.
Fourthly, in app purchasing. The UK Safer Internet Centre explain that by creating games, users can earn Robux, the in-game currency. They can also buy Robux in the game. Players can spend money on items, such as membership to the Builders Club.
If game creators attract players and in-game adverts, they can earn a lot of Robux, which they can convert into real money. To do this, players must be over the age of 13, have paid for Roblox’s premium subscription, and have access to a Paypal account. This means that younger players would need to talk to an adult to be able to exchange their Robux for real money. Our advice is to switch in-app purchasing off in the settings of your child’s device.
Finally, if it does go wrong, report and block players within the game. Praise your child for bringing it to your attention and if necessary delete their account and set up a new one with a stronger password. Always using a nick or tag name, never their real name.
The advice given here applies to all the online games your children play. Always go into settings and set their privacy, switch any location settings off too so they can’t be located whilst playing and keep talking as a family so your children are comfortable telling you when something goes wrong.