Children and teens have gravitated towards video games since they first hit the market in 1971. Since their initial release, video games have opened us up to the world of virtual reality, missions, conquests, storylines and epic battles as our characters move across the screen. In more recent years, video games have made a switch from versus and mission-style gaming to a more diverse genre such as platform gaming. Games included in this category include Minecraft and Fortnite, both of which parents are likely familiar with.
So, what is Roblox? It’s the newest contender on the platform gaming scene. It’s described as a global virtual center where users create their own worlds in Roblox Studio and play in the creations of others – something akin to a game within a game. Users can play with friends in an endless list of stations, from escape rooms to pet adoption in real-time. But is Roblox safe for kids? What measures have they taken to protect young children from falling victim to online predators and bullying? And is there an approved age range for play? We will discuss these issues, among others, and help you determine if this trending gaming app is really worth all the hype.
What is Roblox, anyway?
Roblox, the global online “imagination platform” that has taken youth all over the world by storm, has quickly become one of the most frequently downloaded and actively played games today. Boasting over 150+ million users across the far reaches of the globe, engaging with users in real-time has never been easier, or in some cases, more fun! But what is all the hype about?
Using the app – available on all smartphones, tablets, computers and gaming consoles – users choose an avatar and customize it with vivid and shocking hair colors, intriguing clothing choices, medals from their conquests, or other won or collected contraptions from gameplay. They then can enter worlds – or “sub games” — as a single player or with friends, and play in whatever user creation they choose. Every world found on the platform was created by another user, which can be viewed by some as a double-edged sword.
Is there an age rating?
If you are a parent, chances are likely high that you have at least heard of Roblox in the past year. Whether you have conceded and allowed your child to download the app already or are still on the fence about its uses and possible distractions in your home, we hope to at least clear up a few minute details that may help you settle on your decision on the subject. But you may be asking yourself, is Roblox safe for my child? And is there a designated age range for play?
The answer is a little convoluted, with a generalized age rating of 13+ for play. While the app has a recommended age limit of 13, if your quick-witted kiddo really wanted to, they could likely create an account without parental guidance or input. Because the nature of each game is so diverse, it proves daunting for precise ages to be agreed upon. And because each “world” is created solely by users and is self-policed, adult content – or “condo games” — pop up quickly. It’s for these reasons we encourage all parents to be diligent in their sweeps of their children’s devices.
What tools do parents have?
When it comes to parental controls and tools to utilize in the protection of their children, Roblox has equipped parents with a few weapons in their home defense arsenal against predators and bullies. A few of them include:
- Parent-held accounts – These types of accounts are parent-created, meaning parents input their own email addresses and contact info and give permission to the child to play on the Roblox platform.
- Password-protected settings – Under the parental controls tab in your parent account, guardians can easily turn on password protection, which disables all app settings and controls from being altered without the previously set up password. This safeguards kids from being able to turn off certain functions and features without parental consent.
- Highly censored chat options – In order to prevent children from sharing any personal or protected information with other users online during gameplay, the Roblox Corp. installed software that prevents users from being able to say very much in the chatbox. Names, ages and many other wordings are censored out to prevent the disclosure of information to would-be predators.
Whether your kiddo is a seasoned veteran on Roblox’s “imagination platform” or is currently requesting to become a user to play with friends and classmates, we hope to have cleared the air on some basic information on the gaming platform.
Just like any website/platform/application, users can find ways to manipulate the software and create images and playing stations that are inappropriate for young children. It’s for this reason we encourage you to sit down and have an open and honest discussion with your children before allowing Roblox into the home, setting the groundwork for safe online gaming and honesty among family members.
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