Roblox is one of the largest user-generated online gaming platforms for smartphones and gaming consoles. Users can create games or play games designed by others. Players can either play with their friends or join an ongoing game with strangers.
Because Roblox games are user-generated, players may encounter mature themes and graphics. The app also has a chat feature.
This Smart Social app guide will help parents and educators understand what Roblox is and how to help students stay safe while playing it.
What is Roblox?
- Roblox is a user-generated online gaming platform
- There are two modes: playing (multiplayer environment) or creating games
- Users create games on Roblox Studio and upload games to Roblox
- Users can also update “My Feed” to share what they are doing in the app
- After joining a new games players can add friends and chat in the chat box
- Each player uses a customized avatar
- Roblox offers some free customizable options
- However, most cost “Robux” (in-app purchase)
How to signup for Roblox
- New users must give their date of birth, username, password, and gender when signing up
- Roblox encourages users NOT to use their real name
- Roblox allows users to add their phone number, email, and other social media networks but they are not required
- Players can adjust their settings for who can send them messages, invite them to games, and view their inventory
- Smart Social recommends setting everything to “Friends” or “No One”
- Roblox has a membership option and stores credit card information in the app
Where is Roblox available?
- Apple App Store Rating: 12+
- Google Play Rating: 10+
- Xbox One
- App Developer website: Roblox (based in USA, Owned by Roblox Corp.)
- According to Roblox, 22.8 billion hours have been played on the app since 2008
- 1.2 million hours are played per month
- There are as many as 2.7 million players in the app at one time
Roblox in the news
The biggest danger in this game, and others like it, is exposing your kids to things you may not want them to see…In fact, there are reports of children’s on-screen characters being attacked physically or sexually.ABC 27
[A young boy’s mom] decided to check the game – and discovered he had been communicating with others on a third-party app [with an ‘overlay’ feature making it appear to be part of Roblox.] BBC
One character asked [my daughter] to take her top off and another asked if she would lie down with them which she ignored until they froze her character and forced her. She reset the game and told us which I was very proud of her for doing.Mother of 11 year-old told The Western Weekender
Gamers spend a lot of money on Roblox
[Roblox] Creators, who earned some $100 million in revenue in 2019 (up from $70 million the year before), make money selling virtual goods and other in-game upgrades. Fast Company
Some students can make money on Roblox
Roblox has turned its tween audience into an army of fresh-faced entrepreneurs… ‘It’s almost as if we’re running American Idol for up-and-coming game developers,’ [said Roblox’s cofounder.]… The company also helps budding coders up their game.Forbes
Why should parents care?
- Despite having parental controls, children are still susceptible to being targeted by predators
- The purpose of Roblox is to interact with other players, many of them may be strangers
- Some games allow chat within the game or you can chat in groups or through private chats
- This is where students receive the most exposure and are the most vulnerable
- Since users can create and upload games, inappropriate and graphic content can appear in any game
- Cyberbullying is prevalent, especially the type that shames players for not spending money on their avatar
- Due to Roblox’s auto-billing feature, many children inadvertently sign up to pay for features on a monthly basis
What can parents do?
- If your student has Roblox, discuss safety concerns about the chat features with them and talk about the types of games they are playing
- Download the app to your own phone and add them as a friend. Consider playing a game together as a family
- Ensure that your student knows not to share personal information online
- Consider setting daily or weekly time limits for the game
- Encourage your teen to always talk with you, or a trusted adult, if a situation makes them uncomfortable
- Get in the habit of monitoring your student’s digital footprint and staying up to date on the apps they have on their phone or tablet
Parental controls are available in the app
- Use Parental Controls in the app:
- Go to Settings > Privacy to add a parent’s email for 2 Step Verification
- Create a pin to lock parental controls on your student’s device and disable chat features (& prevent them from changing it back)
- Also toggle on Account Restrictions in order to restrict game play to age appropriate games
Smart Social recommends that parents are on all of the apps their students are on, including Roblox. Be sure to monitor your student’s use of the app and set their privacy settings so strangers cannot chat with them. While Roblox is a fun and creative way to play games with friends, parents should have an open conversation with their students about the dangers of the app and what they should do if something inappropriate happens while they are playing or chatting.