A Parent’s Guide to Roblox Safety (N00b Friendly)
MAR 21, 2023
A Parent’s Guide to Roblox Safety (N00b Friendly)
Blocky characters, countless knockoff style games, and a giant digital world of games and activities—welcome to Roblox.
Unlike other games, Roblox operates more like a game marketplace, allowing users to download mini-games, character skins, and accessories. It’s a very confusing setup for first-time players, but most kids can navigate it with ease.
There are plenty of stories about the dangers of Roblox, including children being groomed by online predators. There are also ways for kids to have fun playing with friends, while staying safe.
What is Roblox?
Roblox is a free online gaming platform that allows any of the 58 million daily users to create their own games in Roblox Studio. It’s available on PC, Xbox, and most smartphones and tablets. Using the tools Roblox provides, anyone can build and publish their own games and make it downloadable to the rest of the community through the Creator Marketplace.
Because anyone can create a game for Roblox, the functionality and game quality varies wildly. Games created by seasoned creators can feel very similar to a normal video game, while a first-time creator’s game may be riddled with glitches and poor gameplay.
Is Roblox safe for kids?
As with anything that connects to the internet, there are inherent dangers, especially for kids. Some of the dangers can be addressed with parental controls, while others may be better resolved by having a conversation with your child about how to practice online safety, and protecting their own privacy while playing Roblox.
Grooming on Roblox
According to leaked documents, Roblox appears to be taking kid safety very seriously, but with the platform being accessed by nearly half of the kids in the US, it’s a big task. Any time adults and kids are connected on the same platform there’s opportunity for predators, and there are plenty of stories that show Roblox is no different.
Because Roblox users can private message each other, Groomers can meet kids in a game and engage with them in a private setting, sometimes even offering money to send illicit images, or perform other sexualized acts. Robux can be bought with real money, and be used for in-game purchases.
Explicit content on Roblox
Roblox has E10+ rating from the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB), meaning it’s suitable for kids 10 and up. However, because users can create their own games on Roblox, the subject matter and appropriateness for children can vary wildly, and dangerously.
User generated content is the main aspect of the game that is responsible for inappropriate content. Roblox has been very active in trying to stop mass shooting games and recreations of actual mass shooting events. These games allow players to take on the role of a gunman shooting innocent victims. While Roblox is working to curb these types of games, they tend to keep popping up, as any user with game building experience can launch a new one.
Roblox added Mature Content in 2023
Roblox recently added mature experiences for users 17+ that their standards say may include
• “graphic and realistic-looking depictions of violence and heavy bloodshed”
• ”references to, and depictions of, alcohol use and intoxicated behavior”
They continue to prohibit nudity, sexually suggestive avatar clothing, content depicting sexual acts, animal abuse and torture, and illegal drug use.
Roblox says this content will not be available to users over 17 who are not ID-verified. They have not expounded on what that verification process entails or how secure it will be.
Given the alarming stat that a third of youth have an 18+ social media account, some younger children will likely try to find ways to access Roblox’s mature content.
Cyberbullying on Roblox
Just as predators can slide into your child’s DMs to prey upon them, it’s just as easy for other kids, and adults to bully them. Whether it’s a disgruntled fellow gamer, or a random troll, there are plenty of instances of cyberbullying on Roblox.
Spending real money on Roblox
Roblox has made it fairly easy to connect real money accounts to their network, creating a seamless way for kids to unknowingly and quickly spend a lot of money.
Screen time on Roblox
Beyond all of the direct dangers listed above, Roblox is a platform of video games, which all want you to spend more time playing. There is plenty of evidence that Roblox addiction is a real thing.
Roblox operates as many engaging things at once, which is a recipe for a potentially tight, addictive grip on your child. Its main function is gaming platform, and hub, but it’s also a fairly functional social media platform, as kids can connect with anyone from around the world, join parties, and message each other. This social aspect layered upon the already robust gaming platform can easily become a black hole of play that keeps your kid glued to the screen.
Kids love to create or repurpose words into slang that sets them apart from previous generations.
Video games have specific slang that players use to communicate while playing. Some terms are used across multiple games, while others are specific to Roblox. Here are a few.
AOS is an acronym for “Arrest on Sight.” It is a popular term in games where users role play as law enforcement.
Beamed or Comped
These popular slang terms mean that a Roblox account has been hacked, scammed, or a group mission has been botched. Comped is short for Compromised. “Bruh, you got beamed.”
Bloxxed – Killed or Beaten in a game
Boosted Ape – a funny term for a player who levels up because their friend helped “boost” them up.
Bypass – Users that have learned to get around Roblox’s chat filter call it “bypassing.”
DM – A DM, or “Direct Message,” is a private message between two players. DMs are a key way predators reach children.
Fat Legs – a derogatory term used to describe the default torso and legs on an avatar, which is considered ugly amongst many players.
FFA stands for “Free For All.” It means there are no teams and every player is playing solo.
F4 – F4 means to quit the game. It references the F4 keyboard button that is used to end the game.
To ask a player to mic-up is a taunting way to challenge a player to join a voice call, usually through Discord.
A shortcut for “sorry” that players use to apologize for mistakes or poor performance in the game. It was adopted from the British term, soz, which also means “sorry.”
Robloxian – a reference to the community of Roblox players. A Robloxian is someone who plays games in Roblox.
Keep your kids safe on Roblox
If your child is already playing Roblox, it may not be realistic or fair to have them stop, unless there are major concerns or incidents that need to be addressed. However, creating rules and boundaries around their time on Roblox should be a requirement. Below are some ways you can keep your kid playing safe.
Roblox safety features and parental controls
One good thing about Roblox is that they appear to be taking child safety more seriously than many other kid-centric platforms and applications. They’re continuously adding more parental controls, and account restrictions in order to keep kids’ play sessions more about fun, and less about danger.
From spending restrictions, to private messaging controls, below are some of the ways Roblox is working to make your kid’s play experience a positive one.
- Customizable parental controls: Parents can limit a host of Roblox features, to lower the exposure to danger for their kids, including the following:
- Chat limiting: Parents can limit who their kid can chat with, or disable chat entirely.
- Privacy settings: Parents can limit the information that is public, so your child’s actual information is shielded from the world.
- Game permissions: Parents can define the games that are allowed to play, based on age recommendations.
- Spending limits: Parents can set monthly spending restrictions, or require a parent to enter a pin number for each purchase.
- Chat Filters: The platform uses human and artificial intelligence to proactively filter chat interactions. It’s important to note that this isn’t going to stop everything, and it’s important to think about if your child should have the ability to chat at all.
- Reporting system: Roblox allows users to easily report any misconduct or inappropriate content using the “Report Abuse” button found throughout the platform. This could be a useful tool to teach your child about, so they know that if they see something that doesn’t feel right, they have a way to let Roblox know.
- Avatar Clothing Detection: This feature makes sure user generated avatar clothing is appropriate for all ages, and doesn’t include indecent attire.
For more ways to protect your kids, check out the Roblox Parental Controls here.
Open conversation about the dangers
One of the best ways a parent can protect their kid from the dangers of Roblox, and online dangers in general is to have open and positive conversations about the actual dangers. It’s important to inform your kid, while not making it an overly frightening conversation for them. Explaining how people may try to take advantage of them can have a long-lasting positive impact on their online engagements.
If your child understands the dangers presented by Roblox, they’re more likely to use common sense, and caution when online.
Keep Roblox off kids’ personal devices
Having such an all-access type platform as Roblox in the palm of your kid’s hand could create several issues. Because it’s so easy to play from wherever they are, it’s difficult for parents to ensure they’re playing safe.
If possible, it may be better to keep games like Roblox contained to family devices like computers or gaming systems, which are in common areas of the house, and other family members have access to.
Gabb devices can’t access Roblox
Gabb creates the safest phones for kids, because it has no access to the internet or app stores, meaning it’s safe out of the box, and stays that way. Our devices are created to keep kids safely connected, while parents can have peace of mind that their child isn’t running into dangerous content or situations online.