What Parents Need To Know About Roblox
Updated: March 30, 2021
What do you get when you combine the user-sharing power of YouTube with the community gameplay of Minecraft? You get Roblox, an endless virtual candy store of free multiplayer games created by users around the world. Chances are pretty good that your child is spending hours on end playing games on Roblox with their friends, especially if they’re under the age of 13. As a parent, you might not have a clue about what type of games they’re playing on Roblox, the people they’re playing with or whether Roblox will cost you anything. Parents, worry no more! Here are the key things you need to know about Roblox.
What is Roblox?
At its core, Roblox is an online platform that enables hundreds of millions of users to create and share their own 3D games and experiences using custom tools.
Although likely to be too challenging for younger kids to master, Roblox Studio tools are easy for novices to learn. Most importantly, Roblox provides a digital playground for kids who are interested in developing their own games. Roblox Studio’s controlled environment provides a non-threatening space in which kids can experiment, create, fail, try again, and ultimately succeed in developing a real game!
The main purpose of Roblox is for kids to have fun, but there are other benefits, including teaching kids the basics of coding, game design and entrepreneurism, skills that are all applicable to real life. Who knows, it may even inspire a career in STEAM when they grow up!
Is Roblox content suitable for all ages?
Roblox has an ESRB rating of E10+ for Everyone 10 and up for Fantasy Violence, which means that typical gameplay should be suitable for most kids. However, the rating also includes an Users Interact notice and an In-Game Purchases notice. These let parents know that players can communicate with each other, create and share games with each other, and make additional purchases within the game.
Roblox is an online platform that enables hundreds of millions of users to create and share their own 3D games.
Although Roblox proactively monitors the content created on its platform, with hundreds of millions of active users a month, some offensive communications or user-generated content may slip through the cracks. So, it’s important for parents to familiarize themselves with the robust parental controls that Roblox provides to ensure their children are shielded from inappropriate content or communications.
Parental controls and other safety features
First and foremost, make sure that your child’s registration in Roblox includes an accurate birthdate! This will enable automatic filtering and other protections specifically designed to protect children under the age of 13. Because Roblox primarily consists of user-created content, the development team has integrated a variety of parental controls directly into its Account Settings, a topic further explored in the Roblox guide and in the Roblox FAQ. Roblox’s parental controls give parents the ability to curate the content their kids may encounter when playing, including options to restrict voice chat to approved friends, to disable voice chat entirely, or to limit children to a curated list of age-appropriate games. You can learn how to enable those controls here.
But that’s not all! Roblox also allows your child to block and report annoying or disruptive players. Make sure they (and you) know how to do so. Of course, this also creates an opportunity to have a discussion about their own online etiquette and safety, which frankly shouldn’t be all that different than how you teach them to behave off-line! “Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” goes a long way. Another basic internet safety rule is to never share personal information or passwords online. No matter what.
Familiarize yourself with the robust parental controls that Roblox provides.
Concerned about the amount of time or money your child spends playing Roblox? Whichever device your child uses to play Roblox, there are a variety of settings you can activate, including restrictions on how much real money your child can spend. Some parental tools provide the ability to control exactly when or how long your child is permitted to play games to make sure they get their homework done or don’t stay up past their bedtime playing Roblox! Apple’s Screen Time feature is built into Apple devices, while Microsoft Family Safety and Google’s Family Link also offer apps so parents can keep an eye on things from a distance.
How much does Roblox cost?
Roblox is free to download and play on all modern smartphones, tablets, computers, Xbox One, Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. But the game also contains in-game purchases in the form of cleverly named “Robux.” Purchasing Robux is not at all a requirement to play, and many players enjoy the game without spending a dime. Players can use Robux to obtain new clothes, accessories and gear for their avatar. You can also purchase special abilities, bonus in-game content and access to certain user-created games. There are a number of ways to obtain Robux. The smallest amount you can purchase is 400 Robux for $4.99. The “exchange rate” is slightly more favorable if you decide to purchase more. Alternatively, a paid monthly subscription to Roblox Premium includes a monthly deposit of Robux along with a variety of bonus features. To earn additional Robux, your child can even sell games they create to other Roblox users!
Patricia E. Vance is the president of the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB). In her position, she leads the teams responsible for assigning age and content ratings to video games and apps, enforcing marketing guidelines adopted by the video game industry, and operating ESRB Privacy Certified, an FTC-sanctioned COPPA Safe Harbor Privacy seal certification program.