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.
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
- After joining a new game players can add friends and chat in the chat box
- Each player uses a customized avatar and many options cost “Robux” (bought with real money through in-app purchases)
Where is Roblox available?
- Apple App Store Rating: 12+
- Google Play Rating: E (Everyone 10+)
- Xbox One: E (Everyone 10+)
- Amazon Appstore
- App Developer website: Roblox (Based in USA, Owned by Roblox Corp.)
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
- Users under the age of 13 play in “Privacy Mode” that prohibits chatting, editing, and forum discussion
- Roblox allows users to add their phone number, email, and other social media networks but they are not required
- Older players can adjust their settings for who can send them messages, invite them to games, and view their inventory
- SmartSocial recommends setting communication options to “Friends” or “No One”
- Roblox has monthly membership options that come with various amounts of Robus and other benefits
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
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 very often interact with strangers and are still susceptible to being targeted by predators through live chats
- 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
Watch the Roblox and Minecraft Parent Safety Discussion with Josh & Beth talking about the dangers of Roblox and Minecraft for families
What can parents do?
- Sit down and play Roblox with your students to understand how they play the game and build a connection with your kids by having fun together
- Discuss safety concerns about the chat features with your kids and talk about who it is appropriate to talk with and what topics are never ok to talk to strangers about
- Consider setting daily or weekly time limits for the game
- Encourage your student to always talk with you, or a trusted adult, if a situation makes them uncomfortable, even online
- Sign up for the SmartSocial.com Very Informed Parent membership to learn more about games like Roblox and more tips on how to keep your family safe online while having fun
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 online games like Roblox and what they can and should do if something inappropriate happens while they are playing or chatting.