I played Roblox for two days and here's what parents need to know
Updated: Jun 14
Roblox's popularity has spiked since the COVID-19 restrictions and now sits at a staggering 146 million monthly active players worldwide. This level of traction echoes my years of work in primary school classrooms where I get a raucous cheer just at the mention of Roblox! I sat and played Roblox for the past two days and here's what every parent needs to know.
There is a heap of horror content on Roblox
These games (seen below) can be accessed and played by any user on Roblox who does not have the restricted mode setting in place.
Adult content is easily accessible
I joined an innocently named game called Meep City. As I wandered around I came across another user named "Teddt_loverXxx's" who asked to be my friend. After accepting the friendship there was an option to visit his/her backyard. I proceeded to the backyard and found myself in a dress-up room that had a distinctly sexual/S&M feel to it (see my costume below that I unwittingly changed into with one click). FYI, this whole process was while my account was in Under 13 mode AND also with restricted mode enabled!
There are weapons to be found in many games
It didn't take much looking around in a couple of different games to come across a machine gun and options to upgrade my hunting knife to the "rampage" model (albeit I would have had to have paid Robux currency to buy a better knife!).
Direct (private) messaging with any other player is super easy
Players can easily "add friends" directly in a game when they see another user or by searching by username. Once a friend request is accepted, you then have direct messaging capabilities with that other player...just like I did with "Bunnyrun2008" (see below).
I did find that there was automated moderation within the direct messaging that did block: a) inappropriate langauge...I tried f**k,
b) links to any external websites
*I tried this direct messaging with both a 13+ and <13 account and found the moderation very similar.
Most games want you to buy stuff
Roblox, like many online games, has its own currency called Robux. Whilst playing one game, I came across a cool looking helicopter that I jumped in, thinking I may be able to fly it. Alas, I needed 349 Robux for the pleasure of a helicopter ride. According to the latest conversion rates, that would cost me a cool $6.13 AUD. Think I'll just walk!
Be aware that, with a click of the "Buy Robux" button, players are taken to a purchase screen where your Apple account linked credit card is ready to be slugged. You must ensure you have password/fingerprint protection for all purchases in your Apple account (presuming your child uses an iPad to play Roblox).
Players chat in another another language!
We probably all know "lol" but watch the chat stream for a few minutes and it is hectic with shorthand:
At times I struggled to follow what was going on and then in certain games that chat is littered with ############. These ########## mean that the comment has been automatically censored.
Check out some common Roblox slang:
What can you do as a parent to make this game safer and minimise risk?
If you've read this far, you're now aware that Roblox is littered with content that you wouldn't want your child being exposed to.
There are parental controls within the settings that are able to minimise risk and remove access to much of this content. Minimising risk does not eliminate risk, therefore supervision and communication are still vital.