Are your kids obsessed with Roblox games? Never off their Xbox or PC? If so, you are not alone.
Roblox has around 150 million unique monthly users. That's up from 35 million in just 3 years. There are now 33.4 million daily users alone.
Interestingly, the vast majority of these are kids who love to play games with their friends for free. Roblox's biggest demographic is children under the age of 13 and it is the most popular entertainment app for that age group.
You might assume that with so many kids playing Roblox, this is a perfectly safe site. But as we will explain in this guide, that isn't entirely true.
What is Roblox?
Before we start talking about the safety aspect of Roblox, let's begin with a quick explainer about what exactly Roblox is.
It is not a game in the conventional sense. Instead, it is an online game creator platform.
Essentially that means that users can create their own games in something called the Roblox Studio and then upload the games created this way to the main site – a multiplayer platform meant for playing various games alone or with friends for other users to play online.
This ability to play games designed by other players makes the Roblox corporation game a very different platform, in a good way.
Users can create an ultimate theme park, build their dream home, design a professional race car driver game, a fashion show game, or anything else they can think of. With an infinite number of possibilities, anything can be created for others to play.
User-generated games can be updated and changed as developers choose and in response to feedback from players. The precise number of online games on the site can fluctuate but a conservative estimate would put the number at 40 million+.
Theoretically, users can access games free of charge, but Roblox also uses its own in-game currency, known as Robux which can be used to purchase additional in-game features in many games.
Game creators that are designing an actual game will also likely want to access the Roblox Builders Club and that requires a membership fee.
There is also the Roblox Premium subscription service which is not free, and it costs real-world money, from £4.59 a month to £18.49 a month.
With that out of the way, let's talk about internet safety concerns and if Roblox is safe for kids.
What is the age rating for Roblox?
Roblox has been rated by PEGI as being suitable for children aged 7 and over.
However, this rating does include the caution that it can include “frequent scenes of mild violence and scenes that younger children may find frightening.”
For users aged under 13, there are stricter settings, including parental controls available.
Top 7 dangers of using Roblox
There are a number of potential risks for young people and kids who play Roblox games which parents and indeed all users should be aware of.
This is why parental controls are recommended. The main ones are:
1. Stranger Danger
Like most services the days, Roblox comes with a chat feature.
This one is rather ominously called ‘Chat and Party'. And while a majority of the site's users might be children or young adults, not all of them are, which is where the need for parental controls comes in.
It is possible to disable this chat app and not accept private messages, but a problem that has been reported a number of times from Roblox users is predatory adults.
These online predators might be pushing young children to chat with them on some third-party chat app. That is where the real danger lies, in moving the conversation to other platforms, especially when it is without the parents' knowledge.
If your child starts to behave differently in any way, it is recommended that you immediately investigate the issue.
Because Roblox is known to be popular with kids, it is also sadly a magnet for predators too, who are not that interested in playing games, but might instead share or request sexual content or some other adult content.
Parents letting their children play the game need to take all necessary precautions in order to keep them safe.
It is not just adult predators who are a threat. Kids can be cruel to each other too.
On Roblox, any users can join any game and it is therefore relatively easy for cyberbullying to occur. This can be between users who know each other in the outside world or complete strangers.
But no matter who the person is, cyberbullying can have a substantial psychological impact on young users.
The term ODer refers to online daters – people who are looking for romantic relations online.
These are not necessarily predators targeting children but rather could be fans of Roblox looking for someone with a similar interest.
But Roblox is not really a suitable place for this type of interaction given the high number of kids on the site. They are something to be aware of and to report and block if necessary in order to keep your child safe.
4. Inappropriate content
Roblox claims to take all steps it can to prevent and take down games containing inappropriate content. But on a platform this size it is almost impossible to get rid of everything.
There are therefore popular games containing inappropriate language, violent content or sexualised activity which is completely inappropriate for some younger users.
5. Spending money
The Robux currency can be purchased using real-life money and while a lot of kids will design games on Roblox hoping that they can earn money, many will end up spending money on the site too.
There are all sorts of different add-ons you can buy and if your kid's account is linked to a bank account, there is always the risk of them spending way more than you want them to.
6. YouTube videos
It is increasingly common for Roblox designers to push users towards videos of their games that they have posted up on YouTube.
Unfortunately, it is not unknown for these videos to contain inappropriate sexual or violent content that is not suitable for many young users.
7. Bypassed audio
Another issue that parents should be aware of is bypassed audio. This is a technique used by some Roblox players to get past moderators.
It will often contain inappropriate language containing violent, sexual, or even racist words and is certainly not something most people want their kids to listen to.
How to stay safe on Roblox
With all these dangers in mind, you might well be thinking that you shouldn't let your kids play Roblox at all.
But before you go down that route, there are a number of steps and precautions that you can take to help minimise the risk these games can pose to your kids:
1. Parental Controls
The developers behind the Roblox platform are aware that these issues exist and they have taken some steps to help users stay safe. One feature they have developed which is particularly helpful is the in-built parental control settings.
The first comes when you set up an account. You will need to register an email address.
It is a good idea to choose one that you check regularly as this will update you on things like money being spent on a Roblox account so you can keep track on what is happening.
When setting up an account, you can also specify an age for the user. If this is under 13 years old, it will trigger Roblox's in-built settings designed to protect kids.
At this stage you can also set up a PIN number to protect the account. This is a good idea as it will allow you to control when and when your child can use Roblox.
Once you have set up an account, take a look at the Account Restrictions section. Account Restrictions can stop a user accessing any games which have not been approved by Roblox themselves.
2. Disable chat function
It is possible to completely disable the Roblox chat function entirely. It is quite simple to do and a sensible precaution to stop your child having to deal with unwanted communication. All you have to do is:
- Click the Settings icon which looks like a gear icon.
- Go to Account Settings
- Click on the Privacy section
- Select Contact Settings.
- Choose No one.
This will prevent all chat on the site. But this will also include the child's friends, so be prepared that there might be some backlash.
3. Privacy controls
The other settings menu to head to straight away is the privacy settings.
Here you can specify how a young user is able to interact with other users they don't know. This includes things like controlling who they can message and who can message them which helps to stop predators approaching them with unsolicited messages.
You can also set the privacy controls to restrict access to private games and limit friend's connections that can then be used to enable other interactions.
4. Block and report users
Like most games it is also possible to block and report any users who behave inappropriately, breach the sites terms and conditions or are generally making your Roblox experience worse.
You can report a player in-game easily as follows:
- Go to the flag icon above their name.
- Input a reason for reporting them.
- Click Submit.
- Then you can just leave the moderators to do the rest.
You can also block a player on Roblox quite easily as follows:
- Go to their Profile
- Clicking on the three dots by their username
- Select Block.
5. Financial limitations
To avoid unexpected bills from the young Roblox players in your household, our best advice would be not to connect a credit card or bank account to your Roblox account at all.
This means there is absolutely no risk of any unexpected bills.
If however you want to allow your kid to spend some money on Roblox but make sure this doesn't get out of hand, there is also a handy feature that lets you password-protect your credit card details.
This means that you will have to enter a password to approve any spending and therefore there should be no unexpected and unpleasant surprises.
6. Good parenting
The best precaution you can take to keep your kids safe on Roblox is to be good parents and do what you should be doing whenever your kids are online.
Keep an eye on what your kids are using the site for. Don't let them disappear into their room. Limit their screen time. They should play Roblox in a communal part of the house where you can check in and see what they are doing.
Talk to them about the game and what they are doing too. Teach them not to accept odd friend requests on their own. If parents show genuine interest, they will share if they are having any problems.
For more advice, take a look at our detailed Kids Online Safety Guide for Parents, which covers more dangers children face online.
Roblox is a really good platform that can help kids fire up their imagination and develop programming skills as well as have fun.
But it is not without its risks too, with everything from predators to uncontrolled spending a possibility.
However, there is plenty you can do to keep them and you safe on Roblox.
Use the tools Roblox provides for parents, block users and the whole chat feature if you want, don't put a credit card up without restricting it, and always talk to your kids about what they are doing on Roblox.
Essentially, with a bit of common sense, there is a lot that your kids can get out of Roblox at minimal risk.