Our Education Officer Tom looks at the popular gaming site Roblox and gives top tips for parents wanting to help young people stay safe whilst gaming on Roblox.
Roblox is a popular gaming site which is often mentioned by young people and parents in our education sessions. Young people regularly share with us their enjoyment of the different games and levels within Roblox.
This blog will introduce Roblox and then explain the key things to be aware of as a parent:
- Communication: how Roblox can be used to communicate with other users
- Content: what content is available on Roblox that might not be suitable for children
- Costs: what ways children might accidentally run up costs while using Roblox
Plus we will share our top tips for staying engaged with your children’s use of Roblox and making the most of the safety features available on the service.
What is Roblox?
Roblox is a gaming website where multiple players interact and play together in online games. The site has a collection of games aimed at 8-18 year olds however players of all ages can use the site and play games together. Roblox can currently be played on the PC, phone, tablet and the Xbox One.
All the games on Roblox have been created by users and there are a wide variety of games to choose from; from delivering pizzas, to roaming a kingdom as a medieval knight, to even starring in a fashion show, the variety of games is one of the reasons that Roblox is so popular with many young people.
Key things for parents to be aware of
1. Communication: how Roblox can be used to communicate with other users
Whilst the games are aimed at 8-18 year olds, there is no lower or upper age restrictions on Roblox, meaning both adults and young people can play and communicate with each other on the site.
All games on Roblox are multiplayer and allow written chat which can be seen by players within each individual game. Users can also make and receive friend requests during gameplay and this means that they can chat to each other outside of the game.
You can read more about the Roblox chat features and the way that these are moderated on the Roblox community guidelines and within their safety features.
2. Content: what content is available on Roblox that might not be suitable for children
The Roblox Studio is a section which allows players to use their imagination and skills to create their own games and share these with others. The option to both create and play games can be very appealing to young people who have the vision and skills who like to create the content they see online.
However, the fact that content is user-generated can mean that some features in some games might not be appropriate for young children. For example, whilst the graphics are not very life like, some of the games feature weapons and blood.
3. Costs: what ways children might accidentally run up costs while using Roblox
You can earn Robux, the in-game currency, through creating games yourself. You can also buy Robux in the game. Players can spend money on items such as membership to the Builders Club, in order to customise their in game character (known as an avatar) and to improve their time within the game.
If game creators earn a high amount of Robux, through attracting players and in-game adverts, they can convert the Robux into real money. To exchange Robux for real money a player must be over the age of 13, have paid for Roblox’s premium subscription and have access to a Paypal account. This means that young players would need to talk to an adult to be able to exchange their Robux for real money.
Top tips for parents
Our advice is the same no matter which gaming site your child is using, it is important to have a conversation with your child about the sites they use and carry on an open discussion which will help them to come to you with any concerns they may have. Involving your child in discussions and decisions about online safety and their internet usage will help them to understand why it is important that they stay safe whilst at the same time have a great time online. It will also help to educate them about how they can keep themselves safe online and know what to do if something goes wrong.
- Stay engaged and have regular conversations
Show an interest in the games your children are playing. This could be through having a conversation about what they like to play or could be through watching them play the game. You could even have a go at playing the games yourself! If children know you have an interest in the game, they may feel more comfortable talking to you about it or coming to you for help if they need it.
- Help them understand the importance of personal information
Check that your child understands the importance of keeping their personal information safe and speaking to an adult straight away if the chat goes from being about the game to meeting up offline, personal information or sending images.
- Set rules around spending money in games
Have a conversation with your child to make sure they realise that is possible to spend real money on the game. Make promises that work for your family, will your child have to ask you before they make an in game purchase? If you want more help to create these promises for your family’s internet use please refer to our family agreement.
- Encourage them to tell you about concerns
Remind your child that they should come to you if they ever see a game or content that is inappropriate, if they see mean comments or if anything worries them within the game. If you know how to report this type of content within Roblox you will be in the best position to help them if they need it.
- Make use of the safety features available
- Block and report: Make sure your child knows how to find and use the report and block functions. Use the Roblox how to make a report page to learn how to do this.
- Safety settings: Set up the parental controls that are right for your family. You can also disable chat, set up the Parent PIN and use the Account Restrictions within Roblox. Click here for more information on how to use the Safety features.
- Settings for under 13s: under-13s have additional safety features, so it’s worth checking your child’s account is registered with the correct age. Players under the age of 13 have a <13 symbol next to their username on the game at all times. It is worth noting, however, that this information is not displayed to other players.
For more detailed instructions and guidance on how to use the safety features of Roblox visit the Roblox website.
For further advice around this topic:
Our hot topic page about gaming
For more information around gaming, games consoles and how to keep young people safe when playing games visit the UK Safer Internet Centres website:
https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/advice-centre/parents-and-carers/parents-guide-technology/gaming-devicesIf you ever have concerns about the communication between your child and someone they have never met and only know online you should report this to CEOP here
For advice tailored for families around gaming