ROBLOX is a platform for creating small multiplayer games and other experiences, and is heavily marketed a kid-friendly game.
It is rated as suitable for those 7 and up in Europe by PEGI, but that doesn’t take into account all of the different games on the service.
There is a very broad range of user-created games on Roblox, only some of which are suitable for the youngest usersCredit: roblox
What is Roblox?
Here’s what you need to know…
- Roblox is a massively multiplayer game for young players
- It lets anyone design their own mini-games and virtual worlds
- These “social network” games are created using Lego-like virtual blocks
- Players can create their own avatars, and speak to other gamers in real-time
- The game was released back in 2006, and now has more than 64million players globally
- It’s available on iPhone, iPad, Mac, Windows, Android, Xbox One and Facebook’s Oculus Rift
- Roblox has proved controversial due to the creation of sex games inside the app
- These areas are meant to be adult only, but some children have managed to access them when in-game roadblocks failed
- The game is age-rated 7+ in the UK and Europe
These range from innocent games such as Pizza Factory or Jelly Mining simulator to role-playing servers where users can pretend to be animals, solve murder mysteries and more.
You can limit Roblox to just show a “curated” selection of games which are vetted as suitable for those under 13, but this is not enabled by default.
The site is also a haven for more sinister role-playing, including people pretending to be Nazis or even the Ku Klux Klan.
YouTube is also awash with examples of players recreating porn in the game too.
One mum was recently horrified to discover that her daughter had gone into a game on Roblox only to see her character “gang raped”.
After that incident, the developer recently said it was “outraged” to learn its rules had been “subverted” by a “bad actor”.
They say they have identified how the “offending action” was created, and have both banned the user for life and put extra blocks in place to “reduce the possibility of this happening again.”
Roblox’s safety settings mean that parents “have the ability to limit or disable entirely who can chat with them”, while restrictions can be put in place to ensure children can only access “curated content”, meaning games which are suitable for those under 13.
Peterson said she had turned up the privacy settings to maximum for her daughter’s account.
Police in Kent, meanwhile, reported in January they have been told by pupils at one school of “adult things” they had seen while using Roblox.
In a letter sent home from Bredhurst Primary School, Gillingham, cops told parents: “Most children disclosed that they had online friends in Roblox that their parents didn’t know about.
“It got worse when many of the children stated they had received many in-game messages from ‘strangers’ and that they hadn’t told their parents.
“All of the children had seen ‘naked’ characters doing very adult things.”
Searching for “Roblox sex” on YouTube brings up hundreds of twisted clipsCredit: Roblox
Tami Bhaumik, vice president of marketing and community safety, said: “While we applaud the precautions of the head teacher at Bredhurst primary school, her letter is based on false and misleading facts from an online safety site blog post that was first published in October 2017.
“All games on Roblox must comply with our Rules of Conduct.
“Our safety team reviews every uploaded image, video, and audio file used within our games to make sure they are safe and age appropriate. “Parental involvement is critical to a fun and safe experience.
“To that end we have created extensive parental controls for our games and a detailed Roblox Parent’s Guide that provides information to parents to help create a Roblox experience that’s best for their child.”
The UK Safer Internet Centre warns that while the games are “aimed” at 8- to 18-year-olds, there are no age restrictions which “means both adults and young people can play and communicate with each other on the platform.”
Top tips for parents from the UK Safer Internet Centre
British online safety charity Childnet has some tips for parents to help young people stay safe on Roblox.
1. 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.
2. Help them understand the importance of personal information
- Check that your child understands:
– the importance of keeping their personal information safe
– that the should speak to an adult straight away if the chat goes from being about the game to meeting up offline, personal information or sending images.
3. 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; perhaps your child will have to ask you for permission before they make an in-game purchase.
4. 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:
There are additional safety features for under-13s , 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, however this is not displayed to other players.
5. Encourage them to tell you about concerns
- Remind your child that they should come to you if they ever see something inappropriate, 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.