Roblox is a popular game that kids of all ages enjoy. However, parents and kids should be aware of the hidden dangers in Roblox.
I’ll admit, I find Roblox to be a pretty harmless gaming platform. My kids discovered the fun open world gaming platform about three years ago, and, after some light research, my husband and I happily agreed to let them have accounts. It all seemed pretty harmless.
My middle daughter was especially taken by the games on Roblox. During the height of the pandemic, when we couldn’t go anywhere or see anyone, she would log many hours per day on the platform. She would first call her friends on Kids Messenger and then they would talk to one another as they navigated Roblox together. At the end of the day, she always seemed happy, gushing about the new pets she had acquired in the Adopt Me game, or the new house she was building with her friend Madison. She loved Roblox. And we had all the parental settings activated and purchases were password-protected. We didn’t give it another thought.
Luckily, I don’t have any horror stories to tell about negative experiences on the platform. I have a friend whose son authorized $15 in purchases through her associated PayPal account before she caught him and shut that down, but I haven’t personally heard about any nefarious activity on the platform.
I hadn’t, that is, until I did a simple search on the hidden dangers in Roblox. And man oh man. I had no idea how many problems the platform was creating for other kids.
The Hidden Dangers in Roblox
One of the biggest dangers in Roblox is bullying. This likely isn’t surprising to hear, sadly. Today’s kids are over-connected. They have smartphones and laptops and tablets. They have social media accounts and gaming profiles. Bullying no longer just takes place in the schoolyard, it takes place everywhere kids are connected to kids.
Bullying on Roblox, therefore, has become a problem that some kids face. Kids give out their usernames to other kids so they can interact on the platform. They play games together, complete challenges, build houses. Unfortunately, these avenues for bonding on the platform can easily be used for bullying. Kids can say mean things to other kids, encourage bad behavior and a number of other online bullying techniques kids can use these days. Yes, Roblox monitors the chat for inappropriate images and words, but there are many mean messages that can be exchanged and overlooked.
What can I do to prevent bullying on Roblox?
There are several actions you can take if you think your child is being bullied on Roblox.
- You can block specific players. If your child routinely complains that one player is being mean or saying inappropriate things, you can block that player.
- You can report abuse within the app. If your child says they see or hear something they shouldn’t, it is fairly easy to report that abuse in app.
- You can choose to disable the chat function within your child’s Roblox game altogether within the parental controls if you worry it is putting your child in harm’s way.
I found talking to my daughter after each time she played to be really helpful. I asked questions like “who did you play with today?,” “what did you guys play?,” and “did you ever feel uncomfortable playing today? Did anyone do or say anything that you didn’t like?” These questions always gave my daughter an avenue for direct communication with me. Although she never had anything negative to say, I felt confident that giving her an option to speak freely with me would have made her comfortable to so do in the event that she needed to.
Accidental Spending on Roblox
I went down a rabbit hole of spending nightmares as they pertain to Roblox after my friend told me that her son spend money on PayPal within the Roblox app. I wanted to make sure that my daughters were never able to “accidentally” spend money on Roblox without my permission.
How can I prevent accidental spending on Roblox?
Under parental controls on Roblox, you have two options:
- You can require a PIN to be entered to authorize transactions within the platform.
- You can disable in-app purchases entirely.
We chose the latter option, worried that our smart middle daughter would, at some point, figure out our PIN and authorize transactions, which is easier than it sounds. Even if you didn’t explicitly input payment information into the app, if your child plays Roblox on your laptop, tablet or smartphone- anywhere you may personally store your credit card information for easy online ordering- your child may be able to access your financials through your cached information.
If your child wants Robux, the platform’s in-game currency, to buy or trade virtual items, you can gift them Robux without having to input any kind of financial info into the app. We live in Texas, where Kroger is our preferred grocery store. Kroger (and I’m sure a slew of other retailers) sells Robux gift cards in the gift card center at each location. Even cooler- when you buy Robux on a gift card, it comes with a free virtual gift- usually a clothing item of some sort for your avatar. You can load Robux into their account via the gift card without your credit card information going anywhere near the game. I buy these gift cards five at a time (and reap the gas rewards Kroger offers on gift cards- score!) and use them as rewards for good grades, good behavior and birthday gifts.
Other Hidden Dangers on Roblox
Although bullying and accidental spending are the two major problematic side effects I’ve learned about firsthand, there are certainly other dangers lurking on Roblox, as there would be with any gaming platform. Also be wary of:
- Inappropriately clothed avatars. Although Roblox does monitor for this, I’ve read stories about these avatars exposing kids to inappropriate content.
- Third party chat apps. Even with the chat function disabled in settings, there are reports of predators being able to gain access to kids within the chat function.
- Roblox YouTube Videos. This one isn’t within the platform as much as it’s related to the platform. My daughter loves to watch videos on YouTube that pertain to Roblox to learn tips and tricks from other players, or to simply learn about new games or activities within the platform. Always monitor this behavior. What can start out as innocent viewing can turn inappropriate with a few quick clicks.
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