Roblox is a game-creation site where users can design and upload their own games. There are over 44 million active users every month on the site. They use it to create adventures, play games, roleplay or learn to code. All users can play the games made by others in a multiplayer environment with chat features.
When users sign up, they choose an avatar and are given their own “real estate” along with a virtual toolbox for building anything they want. By creating cool places and features, they earn Robox. Gamers earn these very slowly over time, though the point of them is really to have gamers pay real cash for these. The other way our kids can earn Robux is by watching extra advertising content, inserting ads into the games they’ve created or signing up for extra membership content (giving out personal information).
The site is rated 10+ or E for everyone. The site does offer a safe-chat mode for users under 13, however, it is only turned on if your child has registered with their real birth year.
There have been quite a few reports lately of predators chatting with children while playing Roblox. I have done some extensive testing with regards to this site and have not seen this personally. All parents should be aware that anything with chat functionality posses the threat of children speaking with strangers online.
Roblox Safety Concerns:
- Roblox chat function is riddled with Trolls (people posting nasty messages looking for an online fight).
- In some of the most popular user created games, there are instances of online dating, foul language, and exploiting others. One user I heard from says “people find ways to break Roblox’s firewalls to do things from simply adding extra bricks to a published place to inserting severe sexual content. [These] are becoming issues that the Roblox team fails to resolve.”
- If your child uses a thirteen and up account they will be able send and receive custom chat messages made by other players and you. The custom chat is censored to an extent but many people find loop holes to bypass censorship. (Meaning there will be rude language passed around).
- Users have been banned for reporting perfectly safe things. Some kids are afraid to report potential issues because of this.
Roblox Safety Tips:
To keep your kids safe while playing Roblox, here are some safety suggestions.
- Make sure your child is using a 12 and under account. This means when your child enters a server (game) they will only be able to view and send pre-made chat messages. (By the way, it is very easy for kids to sign up for an account – it doesn’t require an email address to verify an identity is real).To make sure your child is on a twelve and under account you can go to the top of your home screen on a personal account and click the account button. There you should find an option to change your date of birth, ALWAYS make sure your child is using the correct birth year.
- Monitor your child’s private messages. Be aware that private messages are NOT moderated and it is up to your child to be honest and report inappropriate content themselves. You can access your child’s private messaging by going into their account and clicking the chat bubble on the home screen in the top right.
- If your child sees something that seems inappropriate, make certain they tell you first before reporting it to moderators. You can screen shot the offending material and help them report it correctly. Roblox has a report abuses button in all games. It should be red with an exclamation mark in front or behind it. If you think the content is inappropriate you should fill out the message moderators will receive.
- Play as a family (at least at first). By trying the game for yourself, you can see the areas of concern together and talk with your kids about these risks and the benefits of the game. (Yes, there are benefits – like learning coding).
- Two Step Verification. Roblox does offer two step verification which you can set up with your child. Then whenever they want to play this game, it would SMS message your cell phone. This will curb them playing without your knowledge at inappropriate times.
Lastly, please remind your children that if a situation feels uncomfortable while playing the game, they should trust their instincts, leave that area or stop playing. Also, be sure the understand that they can come to you for help, even if they were doing something they weren’t supposed to.