If your child spent a sizable chunk of their holiday break playing Roblox, they are certainly not alone. As of November 2022, the extremely popular gaming platform had a mind-blowing 58.8 million daily users – and approximately 67% of them are under the age of 16. With these stats, it is unfortunately not surprising that problems and safety concerns have cropped up. Here are some of the main issues to watch for, and steps you can take to keep your child safe.
While Roblox does its best to police the content on its platform and remove certain types of content, there will always be inappropriate (and easily accessible) things that your children can stumble upon, including violence, profanity, and sexually explicit content. Because the games are user-generated, users can get creative… for better or for worse. It’s important that you keep an eye on the games and content your child is engaging with, and understand that Roblox is, in essence, a virtual world in which your child risks seeing these things.
Like most online platforms, Roblox is a place where children may come into contact with ill-intentioned adults. Roblox was created to be an interactive and social platform, which means it also quickly became a place for predators to lurk. There have been cases of children being targeted on Roblox, so it’s crucial that parents are aware of this risk and how to mitigate it.
Roblox provides a place where your child can interact with their real-world peers. Unfortunately, that means it’s also a place where children can face cyberbullying. This danger isn’t unique to Roblox, but certainly something for parents to keep in mind.
Jeff Haynes, the senior editor of video games and websites at Common Sense Media, made a particularly striking comment about Roblox: “If this was a kids’ playground and this was happening on a kids’ playground, it would be shut down with a matter of seconds. There would be caution tape, the police would be there, there’d be protests,” he said. While I’m not arguing to shut down Roblox, I am urging parents to do their very best to keep their child’s playground safe.
Steps for keeping your child safe:
- Understand the platform. It’s hard to keep your child safe on a platform that you don’t understand. Take a bit of time to explore Roblox and understand the user experience. While we can all be guilty of letting our children get absorbed in the iPad for the sake of quiet time, it’s crucial that you aren’t naïve or ignorant of the potential dangers of this platform. The better you understand Roblox, the better you can protect your child.
- Set strict parental controls with appropriate age settings. Before your child gets started on Roblox, take time to make sure all of the appropriate controls are in place. According to Roblox, settings are strictest for users under 13 – this includes filters on chat that recognize identifiable information, slang, profanity, and more. Personally, I think your best bet is to set your child’s age on the platform to under 13, regardless of their actual age. Remember to secure your parental settings with a pin so that they cannot be changed by anyone except you.
- Set it to friends-only communication or no communication. As we discussed previously, Roblox has extensive chat features. This is also where issues can arise. Your child can enjoy the platform without the chat, or with a more secure chatting experience. By changing the setting to “Friends” or “No One” can help protect your child.
- Talk to your child about potential dangers. We would all give anything for the ability to protect our children from any and every danger in this world, but that’s not always possible. Having an honest conversation with your child about the various dangers of Roblox can help them recognize when they encounter problems. Transparency is key – while it’s not a fun conversation to have, it’s important that they’re aware. Remind them that you trust them, and that Roblox is a privilege and not a right.
While Roblox does its best to ensure their platform is a secure experience for users of all ages, it’s up to us to make sure our children are safe. Keep on eye on their usage, talk to them about what they’re playing, and don’t be afraid to open their account and explore it for yourself.