Roblox - A Parent's Guide

Roblox - A Parent's Guide

I have previously created a video about the risks of Roblox and also some of the safety features, you can view the video below on my YouTube channel. I thought it would be useful to also create a blog post alongside it.

What is Roblox?

Roblox is an online game creator environment. The games are created by users using the Roblox Studio feature and there are currently over 40 million games in the collection. The closest comparison is YouTube but rather than the content being videos it is games.

Roblox has been around since 2006 and has over 200 million active monthly users, that's a very large community constantly creating content and socially interacting with each other. This means that it is also an environment targeted by online predators and therefore something you should first and foremost discuss with your child.

Roblox Age Ratings

Now, this is where things get a bit interesting! As all of the content within Roblox is user-generated it does not fall under the same age ratings as commercially produced games. Roblox is actually rated PEGI -7, in the Google Play Store it is rated as parental guidance and in the Apple store 12+. The PEGI rating was given only for the base platform and a few of the sample games and does not cover the over 40 million user-created games mentioned earlier. Within the platform terms & conditions, the Roblox creators have used the global get out of jail free card by stating "Users under the age of 18 require parental consent to use the services" This to me is a massive cop-out for many reasons and a reason for parents to really think hard about allowing their children unsupervised access to the platform, some of the known issues around the platform are:

  • Exposure to sexualised content - children especially younger children will be unlikely to understand sexual suggestion and may see it as a kind of game, this is something that predators can use to their advantage within the games on this platform. Groomers will seek to normalise sexual activity using this gaming environment.
  • Ineffective moderation - whilst there is moderation within Roblox, no chat filter is 100% effective as there are numerous ways to say a word without actually saying the exact word.
  • Unsupervised access - if you don't utilise parental controls it can leave your child exposed to harmful content and the possibility of being contacted by strangers.
  • Friend requests - again if the parental controls are not put in place it can be possible for your child to be contacted by strangers whose ultimate goal is to build a rapport and move the child to a private server which they control with no controls in place.
  • In-game currency - Roblox has its own currency system and there have been numerous reports of it being used to enable child sexual exploitation by using the promise of currency to force children to perform inappropriate sexualised behaviour.

I have mentioned parental controls a couple of times and of course, I will explain some of the easy wins that you can put in place to try and help protect your child. As always though please use this in conjunction with the most important advice I normally offer, communication is key and building the trust between you and your child so that they know you are acting in their best interest and not trying to spoil their fun.

Enable Account Pin

Parents can add a four-digit PIN to lock an account and prevent any changes being made to account settings without permissions, including password, privacy, and settings.

  • Log into the Roblox Account
  • Go to account settings

– Browser: located in the upper-right-hand corner
– Mobile App: three dots in ‘More’

  • Select ‘Parental Controls'
  • Toggle the PIN option
  • Create a PIN and confirm it

Enable Account Restriction

Parents can enable Account Restrictions to increase security and control over content. Enabling restrictions will automatically lock the account's Contact Setting to ‘No One’ meaning users can’t send messages, chat in the app or a game. They also won’t be able to access games on restricted lists.

These lists are pre-approved and verified as appropriate for users under the age of 13, by Roblox based on ratings from the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB).

  • Log into the Roblox Account
  • Go to account settings

– Browser: located in the upper-right hand corner
– Mobile App: three dots in ‘More’

  • Select ‘Parental Controls’
  • Toggle the Account Restrictions button
  • The button will turn green, and a message will be displayed: “Account Restrictions is currently enabled”

Enabling/Disabling Chat Function

  • Log into the Roblox Account
  • Go to account settings

– Browser: located in the upper-right hand corner
– Mobile App: three dots in ‘More’

  • Select ‘Privacy’
  • Select ‘No one’ under the “Who can chat with me?” option

It is worth bookmarking the Roblox parental guidance site for up-to-date information.

When setting up an account for your child it is important that you use their correct date of birth, if they are under 13 this will ensure that several things happen, an appropriate chat filter is put in place, they can only access age-appropriate games and also you will receive a separate parent login that will allow you to monitor activity.

You can also limit games to those curated by Roblox staff as follows:

  • Log in to roblox.com
  • Click the Gear icon in the top right
  • Select Settings then Security
  • Enable the Account Restrictions slider

Monitoring your child's account

Roblox has several ways to monitor account activity. While logged in to your parent account, you can view the following histories from their related sections:

  • Direct and small group chat (Chat & Party feature found in the lower right corner of the apps). There you can see individual chat histories. This feature is limited to Friends, and Friends of Friends.
  • Private message history (Messages)
  • Friends and Followers (Friends)
  • Virtual item purchase and trade history (My Transactions, browser only)
  • Creations such as games, items, sounds, ads…etc (Create, browser only)
  • Recently played games (Home, Keep Playing or My Recent)

Roblox on Xbox

A couple of years ago, the free game came to the Xbox. How the parental controls work on the Xbox is slightly different from a PC, Mac, tablet or mobile gaming.

Although the Xbox has controls for friend requests, this doesn’t restrict those in Roblox as they are considered a different type of “in-game” friend. However, the Microsoft terms of service for game makers mean that players can’t make new friends while playing on Xbox. They will only see friends already made on the PC, Mac, or tablet.

Additionally, you can further limit the interactions with other players on the Xbox as follows:

  • Start Roblox
  • Select the Account Settings page
  • Identify the Linked Account
  • Apply restrictions via roblox.com for this account.
  • Toggle on/off Cross-Platform Gameplay to limit who your children can play with (Note: Currently Roblox doesn’t support cross-platform messaging, so Xbox players can’t message players on other platforms)

There is an excellent resource that I obtained from the wonderful people at National Online Safety, they do some really impressive work putting together resources for schools and have helped a great deal with my research over the years!

Hopefully, this guide will have been of use alongside my YouTube video. Please do share it with friends and family and ask them to subscribe to the blog and also the channel.

As always any comments or suggestions can be dropped in an email to me, the address can be found on the 'About Me' page.

Stay safe all and remain vigilant.