Parents guide to Roblox and how your kids can play it safely

Parent vlogger Adele Jennings from Our Family Life shares insight on the Roblox platfrom
Display video transcript

hi I’m Adele from our family life code

of UK and we’ve teamed up with Internet

matters to talk to you today about

roblox it’s hard to keep up with

everything our kids get out to on their

devices but if your child is anything

like mine you’re probably pretty

familiar with roblox everything is

roblox roblox roblox for roblox so I did

a little research and I discovered it’s

huge one of the biggest online gaming

platforms and essentially it has a

social media element which allows kids

to speak to anyone so how does it work

roblox can now be played on a range of

devices and it has to be downloaded once

it’s downloaded each player creates

their own little avatar then there is a

feed from where each player can choose

which game they’d like to join in on

however we have to be a little bit

vigilant with roblox because anyone can

speak to anyone by the messaging tool

and secondly there’s no age limit so

anyone can join which means there could

be anyone behind the other avatar your

child is talking to what’s more is that

the cost of roblox accessories including

clothing weapons hats and pets add up

costing row books row books cost real

money so if you’ve accidentally left

your PayPal login to your family

computer or your card details are stored

it could be very easy for them to start

spending your hard-earned cash on

virtual items so as there are limited

restrictions on roblox it’s essential

you talk to your child about the game

and tell them your concerns

lockdown in-app payments and have

ongoing conversations about what games

they’re playing and what they’re doing

in the app and essentially familiarize

yourself with the safety features

available to parents these can help keep

your child safe parental controls enable

the chat capability to be shut off the

age of the user is more visible so you

can easily determine if the settings are

age-appropriate there are tighter chat

controls for under 13s restricting a

greater range of words parents can set

their child’s account to allow them to

only access a selected list of

age-appropriate games for those under 13

roblox claims to be more responsive to

getting rid of games and content that

violate their rules of conduct players

can report inappropriate chat messages

or content by using their report abuse

system and as always keep the

conversation open make it so they feel

like they can let you know if they get a

message they don’t like for more help on

roblox visit internet matters dog

[Music]

How can I help my child stay safe while playing Roblox? This is the question that a lot of parents grapple with when it comes to the popular platform. To help ease those fears, tech journalist and games expert Andy Robertson sheds light on the game and how it can be played safely.

Roblox has been a major hit with children worldwide, even though it is an odd-looking and often confusing game. For parents at least.

Like Minecraft before it, its attraction to youngsters is partly because mum and dad don’t get it. That makes it all the more exciting but can also lead to fears over its safety. After all, much of Roblox is played online.

There are many Roblox rumours, fake scare stories, and incorrect advice rife on social media and even in newspapers that demonise the game. However, children can play it safely and enjoyably with little supervision and understanding.

That’s why we’ve put together a quick guide to help you understand what makes Roblox so popular and how to ensure your kids don’t get any nasty surprises.

What is Roblox?

Roblox is an online game creator system where the majority of the content is created by “amateur” game creators in Roblox studio. These game makers are able to create and publish games to the community using simple tools. And that means they can try ideas that wouldn’t get funded for a commercial release.

These games can then be played by children worldwide, often online together, through a phone or tablet application or a web browser.

Games like Prison Escape, Work in a Pizza Place, Shark Attack or Disaster Survival offer a playful way to experience adult-like scenarios in quick competitive rounds played socially.

Roblox games reflect the sort of imaginative play you often find in the playground. One child has an idea about a game to play, others join him or her and the rules slowly change as the group decides how to have fun together. Creators can quickly update and adjust their games with Roblox studio to match the demands of the huge playing community.

This ever-changing and expanding library of games is a big part of why so many are playing Roblox. Combine this with the millions of other players to compete against in challenges and you have the perfect recipe for youngsters to enjoy.

As with any online game, there are some dangers to be aware of, though, which we’ll go through now.

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Roblox age ratings

Because the content in Roblox is user-generated it doesn’t fall under the same rigorous age ratings as content made by commercial companies. Roblox itself is rated PEGI 7 in the UK, with rating details that explicitly say there is no blood.

The VSC who administer the legally binding PEGI ratings does state that the rating only covers the basic system and a few sample games. The same is true in other territories, with the ESRB taking a similar approach in the US.

Roblox itself does filter and check the games that are being created both for inappropriate images and profanity. However, games are still allowed that can have horror, murder or bloody themes. One game we tried, Hotline, tasked players with knocking each other over with guns or knives before then beating each other’s head until they died with blood splatters.

Image of roblox game

The best solution to this is to specify the Account Restrictions setting in the linked Roblox account. This limits the playable games to those selected by Roblox itself. Although do note that setting a child’s age as under 13 doesn’t limit the games they can access.

screenshot of the roblox game account settings

Roblox in-game purchases

Although the Roblox is a free game to play, children are incentivised to make purchases in the game with real money. Kids can purchase Robux for cash which is then spent on equipment and outfits in the games.

Ensure that you are tracking and password-protecting credit cards on your systems, so no unanticipated purchases are made. It’s worth talking to your child about this commercial aspect of the game before they play.

All the games work fine without additional content, but at the same time will signpost players to benefits of spending money. This is how game makers make a profit from their creations made on Roblox Studio.

Roblox parental controls

There are other parental controls that can be used in the game to ensure Roblox is super safe for younger players. It’s worth checking out the Roblox website for guidance.

First, it is important that you enter the correct date of birth for your child’s account. This will trigger the appropriate safe-chat with a higher level of filtering. Additionally, this means you will get a separate parent login so you can check up on your child’s interactions.

You should limit games to those curated by Roblox staff as follows:

  • Log in to roblox.com
  • Click the Gear icon in the top right
  • Select Settings then Security
  • Enable the Account Restrictions slider

Monitoring your child’s account

Roblox has several ways to monitor account activity. While logged in, you can view the following histories from their related sections:

  • Direct and small group chat (Chat & Party feature found in the lower right corner of the apps). There you can see individual chat histories. This feature is limited to Friends, and Friends of Friends.
  • Private message history (Messages)
  • Friends and Followers (Friends)
  • Virtual item purchase and trade history (My Transactions, browser only)
  • Creations such as games, items, sounds, ads…etc (Create, browser only)
  • Recently played games (Home, Keep Playing or My Recent)

Roblox online interactions

Being an online game means that players in Roblox can interact and communicate with each other in various ways. This can be via voice or written text once friend requests have been made.

It is simple to restrict these interactions on the settings for your account:

  • Log in to roblox.com
  • Click the Gear icon in the top right
  • Select Settings then Privacy
  • Restrict interactions via Content Settings and Other Settings

You should note that this doesn’t disable friend requests in Roblox. Therefore, it’s important to check in on the Friend Requests page on the website to ensure strangers are not being accepted.

Roblox on Xbox

A couple of years ago, the free game came to the Xbox. How the parental controls work on the Xbox is slightly different from a PC, Mac, tablet or through mobile gaming.

Although the Xbox has controls for friend requests, this doesn’t restrict those in Roblox as they are considered a different type of “in-game” friend. However, the Microsoft terms of service for game makers means that players can’t make new friends while playing on Xbox. They will only see friends already made on the PC, Mac, or tablet.

Additionally, you can further limit the interactions with other players on the Xbox as follows:

  • Start Roblox
  • Select the Account Settings page
  • Identify the Linked Account
  • Apply restrictions via roblox.com for this account.
  • Toggle on/off Cross-Platform Gameplay to limit who your children can play with (Note: Currently Roblox doesn’t support cross-platform messaging, so Xbox players can’t message players on other platforms)

Roblox police warnings

Hopefully, that should clear up exactly what Roblox is and how to keep your kids safe while playing it. The final thing to mention is that the slew of tweets, Facebook posts, emails, and school gate chatter about police warnings on nudity and stranger danger in the game didn’t originate from Kent Police as has been widely reported.

The real danger here is scaring parents into banning the game and closing down the opportunity for healthy and helpful conversations about appropriate behaviour online. As ever the best way to mitigate any of these risks in your family is to start playing Roblox together and keep devices and consoles in shared family spaces.

Loot boxes and gambling

Loot boxes are common in many online video games. They let users unlock items and rewards usually for purchase at random. However, the rarity of the items can differ from game to game. While the term comes from box-shaped items, these interactions come in many forms. For example, a user could toss a coin into a fountain and receive a random virtual item that way.

In Roblox, the Terms of Use state that Creators who offer random virtual items (i.e. loot boxes) for payment must state the odds of each type of item a user might receive. But because users don’t know which item they will actually receive, some have compared loot boxes to gambling.

As such, many have questioned whether children should have the ability to buy loot boxes. In fact, some called for a ban on children purchasing them (either with Robux or other currency). As of July 2022, the UK is not banning loot boxes.

Some Creators make gambling-themed games as well. However, users cannot win real money from these games. Instead, they earn Robux. If they can earn items, the same rules above apply  — users must clearly identify the odds of winning each item.

Is it a part of the metaverse?

The metaverse is becoming more popular with the work from Meta and platforms like Roblox. It’s essentially a vision where users will be able to communicate, interact, play, shop and more all in one place. This may even include seamlessly transitioning from one platform to the next.

Roblox fits well into this idea because users are able to participate in games, concerts and more all within the platform. They create content for each other, which is a large idea for the metaverse. It was founded on the idea of “human co-experience: people doing things together in synchronous 3D spaces.” In this way, it seems a big part of the metaverse.

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