Building your own worlds from building blocks, taking on imaginative roles and completing exciting missions – the online game platform Roblox is currently very popular with children and young people.
The two words Robots and Blocks together make up the name of the Roblox gaming platform. Here, virtual worlds can be created and played with in Lego style, which especially excites children and teenagers who are 14 years old and younger. Roblox is a mixture of game world and social network and is reminiscent of Minecraft.
After registering on roblox.com, players receive a pre-made game character (avatar) that they can customize as they wish. Clothes or a different hairstyle are free of charge. Some extra accessories cost money in the form of their own currency Robux. Functions such as creating games as well as playing games themselves are freely available.
Many children love the game because they can easily create their own games. Registered users can create their own games with the “Roblox Studio” building tool and share them with others. Simple structures can be designed, but also complex worlds of experience such as cities and amusement parks. In the Roblox community, children and young people can creatively let off steam and chat with each other.
Roblox is known as a platform for young game developers and entices them to earn money with their own games: If your child creates a game that is well received by others so that they invest money in it, with a bit of luck your child will also receive a share as a developer.
Because people can contact others through Roblox, there are risks such as cyberbullying, cybergrooming, and hate speech. Roblox is repeatedly accused of not sufficiently moderating both the content and the communication among users and of not being consistent enough in dealing with violations of the community guidelines.
It can be tempting for kids to invest real money in a fantasy currency or sign up for a paid membership to have more options in the game. When exchanging objects among players, cheating may occur, since not all players offer real Robux. Those hoping to make a lot of money developing their own games on Roblox will be disappointed. Roblox has been criticized for exploiting young game developers retaining most of the profits itself.
Stiftung Warentest put the game under the microscope in 2019 and rated it “unacceptable”. Not all content is suitable for children, and the huge selection of games includes shooters that are not suitable for children. Roblox also received deductions for data protection.
The provider emphasizes on its platform to take security and data protection very seriously. There is a reporting system for inappropriate chat messages and a chat filter. After registration, an account in “privacy mode” is automatically created for users under 13 years of age. Younger children will not have access to social media plug-ins or some notification messages, for example. Some games are also only released from a certain age. Moderators check whether uploaded images and video material meet the requirements for child-friendly content. Inappropriate content is actively filtered and deleted. However, all of this assumes that the age information of the players is securely checked during registration.
You can find out more information on the “Parents’ guide” web page. Roblox offers several safety features that help you keep better track of your child’s play.
Register and create a profile together with your child and discover the Roblox game world together. Sit down with your child regularly to talk about his or her play experiences. Ask to see what your child looks at and plays, and ask why he likes certain games and who he connects with.
Set the account to show only age-appropriate games to your child. Use a parent PIN so that only you can change the settings. Advise your child not to share private data via the platform. Educate your child about communication risks online and encourage them to block and report suspicious or unpleasant contacts. Chat options can be limited or even disabled and age visibility can be turned off. You can also find all important steps for parental control at Roblox on medien-kindersicher.de.