Keeping up with the latest popular games among children is difficult - what’s ‘cool’ can change faster than us parents can keep up with. today's most popular game is also one of the most dangerous.
Dubbed ‘The Next Minecraft’, the massive multiplayer online game Roblox is growing in popularity at a rapid rate. Whilst the game may seem like an innocent digital playground for children, there is a frightening problem with its online community.
What is Roblox about?
Roblox markets itself as a fun online world for kids to interact. Players are given the opportunity to create an avatar (player) for themselves and a small amount of digital money to rent a house. Money to furnish and decorate the house requires real world money, with costs adding up fast. A variety of different outfits are also available to purchase which is a huge drawcard for many young children who want to make their avatar look as cool as possible. Players who don’t spend real money on upgrades to their game are repeatedly mocked by other players, which eventually bullies them into spending money.
Why is it such a risk to children?
Additional purchases are not the biggest issue with this game however, the social interaction amongst players is. The purpose of the game is for players to interact and make friends with one and other. This is achieved by wandering around the online world and stopping to talk with other players. The discussions take place within an unmoderated chat feature. Like any online multiplayer game, there is little to no control over the types of people or age limits of those playing the game. This means that your children are susceptible to being groomed by online predators.
Unfortunately, within the online gaming world, where there are games marketed to children, there will be online predators looking for an easy avenue to make contact with children. Games like this are often used as a platform to lure children away from the game and onto other more dangerous and invasive platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat and even in some cases Skype. This is the most dangerous aspect of Roblox. The game is most appealing to younger children, under the age of 12 and therefore a very easy targeting zone for predators. Children of this age are an easy target as they lack the ability to comprehend when another player is making inappropriate requests of them.
The game allows players to invite each other into their online bedrooms and to engage in sexualised behaviour. Whilst this is all very superficial and no “simulated” sex acts can be depicted within the game; the insinuation is there. More advanced players, are able to create their own online worlds for other players to enter which often means that pornographic content can also be uploaded for children to see. The game is not safe for children under the age of 12 and even then, Family Zone does not recommend any children play the game.
How can I protect my kids?
As part of Family Zone’s many helpful features, we can block Roblox from your children’s devices, without blocking other games they may be allowed to play. Our team of Cyber Expert’s has identified this game as being completely unsafe for children to use. The lack of moderation in the chat feature and uploaded user content leaves children at risk of exposure to a huge range of inappropriate adult content, bullying and susceptibility to online predators.
At Family Zone, we understand that navigating this journey as a parent is difficult. But you're not in it alone - our team of Cyber Experts can help you sort out what apps and content are appropriate for your child, and provide you with the tools and resources to help you protect your children online.