Roblox is a popular game with youngsters. It’s like Minecraft but with a greater focus on player-created games.
Amateur creators create the games on Roblox about subjects as diverse as working in a pizza shop, surviving a disaster, solving a murder or even just shovelling snow.
However, its online game-play and unrated user generated content can cause concern for parents.
Although, there are risks with any online activity, Roblox is an excellent game for families offering varied games that have the feel of the playground for youngsters.
Here’s how to help your children benefit from the game while avoiding any pitfalls.
The game is free to play and available on the PC, tablets, smartphones and the Xbox One.
Many games incentives players to make purchases of outfits and equipment with Robux currency that is acquired with real money.
My son paid about £7 to access a particular motorbike in one game. He was happy with his purchase, but I’m still unconvinced how much value this really offered him.
Parents should ensure the in-app purchase settings on their devices are set appropriately to avoid unexpected costs.
It’s also discussed the real value of purchases with children before they spend their pocket money on virtual items.
In the UK and Europe, PEGI rated Roblox as suitable for those 7 years and older for frequent scenes of mild violence and scenes which younger children may find frightening.
The Video Standards Council expanded on the PEGI rating by saying, "Violence is very mild and consists of blocky, action-figure and stick-like humanoid characters competing in various child-friendly games.
Armed with fists, swords or guns they can hit each other until they fall apart and disappear. Blood and injuries are not depicted."
However they noted that "user generated content has not and cannot be rated by PEGI. Parental guidance is advised."
They only looked at sample games (made by the developer themselves rather than users) at the time of rating, "Violence can be found in the following games: Coalesce, Fisticuffs, Heroes, Ripull Minigames, ROBLOX Dodgeball, Skybound II, Super Check Point and TNT Rush.
Frightening scenes can occur in the game Stop it, Slender! 2. The aim of the game is to run around darkened locations collection pages. Slender Man can jump out of the darkness and scare you. If you do not look away fast enough you lose the game."
In the US, the ESRB rated Roblox as E 10+, suitable for children 10 and older. The ESRB didn’t detail specific games, instead indicating the "possible exposure to unfiltered/uncensored user-generated content, including user-to-user interactions and media sharing via social media and networks.”
On the iOS App Store Roblox is rated as suitable for those 12 and over because of “Infrequent/Mild Cartoon or Fantasy Violence and Infrequent/Mild Realistic Violence”.
This variance is in part due to the user-generated content in the game that falls outside of the remit of rating bodies.
Consequently there are some Roblox games that have intentionally horror related, violent and bloody themes.
For example, Slender Man that pictures bloody operating tables and dark scares. Another example is Hotline Roblox, and is a game where players attack each other with knives and guns until they fall over and then attack the prone bodies to kill them where upon pixelated blood splatters and severed limbs are seen.
There are comprehensive parental control settings on the Roblox website and excellent guidance for concerned parents.
Register your child’s accounts with the correct date of birth to ensure appropriate safe-chat mode is applied for those under 13.
You also get a parent login that lets you oversee your child’s use of the site. However, it’s important to know that the specified age doesn’t filter the content in the games.
All players can access all the games regardless of their age. You can restrict the list of games to a limited list curated by Roblox staff as follows:
Because you can’t disable Friend Requests in Roblox it’s worth parents keeping an eye on the Friend Requests page on the website.
Xbox Parental Controls
Controlling Roblox on the Xbox is different to PC, Mac and Tablet. Firstly, the Xbox One’s own controls for Xbox Live friends requests doesn’t effect making Roblox friends.
However, children cannot make Roblox friends while on Xbox due to Microsoft platform policies. They have to invite/make friends on the PC/Mac/Tablet.
(Note: Currently Roblox doesn’t support cross platform messaging, so Xbox players can’t message players on other platforms.)
Enabling cross-platform play is also a nice way to play Roblox with friends and family in the same room — one on Xbox and the other being on mobile or computer.
Parents looking for alternatives to Roblox can consider Minecraft (PEGI 7+) that offers similar functions in its online servers with higher standards for user generated content.
There are also other games that offer similar game-making options without masses of online strangers could consider.
- Lego Worlds (PEGI 7+)
- Disney Infinity 3.0 (PEGI 7+)
- Little Big Planet 3 (PEGI 7+)
There are also alternatives that offer similar novel and quirky game-play.
- Unbox: Newbies Adventure (PEGI 3+)
- Stardew Valley (PEGI 7+)
- The Escapists 2 (PEGI 7+)
- Portal Knights (PEGI 7+)
- Dragon Quest Builders (PEGI 7+)
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