What is Roblox?
Robox is a popular and impressive online gaming platform that is designed to allow users to create, play and share each other’s games.
Users register with Roblox and can play pretty much any game there, but the real attraction is that Roblox also has a proprietary game development tool called Roblox Studio. Built around the programming language Lua, this development tool lets users of all ages create essentially anything – first person shooters, sports games, strategy games, historical games, educational games, mysteries and RPGs, and more.
An expansive internet community that has been created around Roblox, with a really staggering number of ever-evolving games to play. Users can share games, play interactively with each other, explore the Roblox wiki and tutorials, help each other learn and generally chat with each other.
Really, it’s like a big virtual playground for video game players and enthusiasts.
Roblox age rating
Roblox has an Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating of 10+, meaning by and large it is suitable for kids over the age of 10.
Generally speaking, Roblox does screen for profanity and inappropriate content and the majority of games are fairly appropriate for the age range.
However, because Roblox games are designed by the community and can be built to accommodate whatever the game designer can think up, it means that it is really impossible to get a single age rating for all the games on the Roblox platform. That means some games may have blood and horror elements, although in practice many developers complain that their games are frequently removed for excessive violence and gore, so we suggest some parental guidance and oversight for younger kids.
Why do kids love Roblox?
Put simply, kids love Roblox because there’s always something new and fun to do and see.
At any time, Roblox has tons of games that are available to play with the click of a button. Most are free, some charge you in an in-game currency called Robux (more on that later). While these aren’t the most advanced graphics out there by far (think minecraft meets lego) there is always something new to try or to check out – and that’s a powerful motivator to keep logging in.
Other than the games, there are tools that let more creatively minded kids bring their ideas to life. Whether they aspire to make their own video games one day, or just have a funky story in mind, Roblox’s tools are an approachable and relatively easy way to build their ideas out and put them out for the world to see.
Finally, of course, there’s the social aspect.
Roblox isn’t just a game platform it’s also a social community. Kids can use it to play and interact with friends, and there are various livestreams, YouTube and Twitch channels dedicated to keeping up to date, having discussions and playing and showing off the latest and greatest games around.
Is Roblox dangerous?
This is one of the more common questions parents ask and, with so many kids using Roblox today, rightfully so.
The answer is that, like Reddit, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Tiktok and the other social platforms kids love to hang out on, Roblox itself isn’t inherently dangerous to its users, even children.
Millions of users of all ages use it every day without much issue. After all, most users are there to build and play games of various kinds.
However, the internet, being what it is, is not free from predators, creeps and other dangers for kids.
While Roblox does do a good job trying to make their platform safe, like everything else on the internet there are always a few things to watch out for.
One feature of Roblox is that allows in-game and out of game chat and messaging.
Online chat is always an issue when it comes to kids and the internet. Don’t get us wrong, chat can be a boon to users – they can make friends with like-minded people around the world, they can talk with each other, join groups, help each other code games and more.
That said, chats can also introduce dangers like:
- Obscene or inappropriate messages that bypass filters
- Attempts to convince kids to click on links or visit websites that contain malicious code or popups
Viruses and Malicious Code
You can’t really get a virus from Roblox games. The games don’t upload or download executable files to your computer, so they’re safe in that regard.
That said, there are numerous sketchy websites not at all affiliated with Roblox that promise free games, downloads or even Roblox itself that are actually malware. So make sure you only download and interact with Roblox from the official site and speak to your kids about doing the same.
In Game Violence and Gore
Roblox does sort of allow some cartoon violence in their games. Blood that’s cartoonish or not realistic won’t be banned, but it may not be available on certain platforms or be readily promoted on the featured sections.
To their credit, Roblox actually does remove content with excessive and inappropriate gore.
That said, as the expression goes, if a million monkeys with a million typewriters can recreate Shakespeare then a million users can probably figure out how to make horror and violent games on pretty much any platform, including Roblox.
Robux – What are they and why should I be aware?
Roblox is free to play and use. It is based on a freemium model, which means there is an in-game currency called Robux.
They don’t cost a lot – 1 robux is about a $0.01 USD – and while you don’t need to have them to have fun on Roblox, they can be used to access certain games, get upgrades, extra items, animate or dress user avatars and more.
Generally speaking you get Robux through through gift cards, subscriptions, through the online store, by trade or by gift.
When it comes to kids and in-game currencies, the possibility of scams becomes more likely.
Unscrupulous players may try and convince them to give them their Robux, or may try and “trade” them out of Robux with less than valuable items.
Before getting Robux, therefore, it’s important to discuss with your kids the relative value of money and how to be safe and careful with it so they don’t get taken for a ride.
So, is roblox safe?
Certainly, the above gives any parent something to think about. That said, compared to many (if not most) other social media and community platforms, Roblox actually does do a pretty good job at putting in tools and controls that you can use to make your child’s experience safer.
Roblox proactively monitors the content created on its platform, which means the company doesn’t just rely on people reporting an issue if they see one.
User-uploaded images, including avatars, are monitored and inspected by human moderators for inappropriate content, while the chat system is subject to a variety of automated and human filters that monitor and remove inappropriate comments and language, as well as personally identifying information. Phone numbers and addresses, for example, are automatically blocked from being shared via chat.
Unlike many other social technologies out there, Roblox actually gives parents easy ways to monitor their kids activities on the platform. Parents can keep an eye on what their kids are up to and look for warning signs by logging in and viewing a history of the accounts activities including:
- Private Messages
- Friends list
- Item purchases and trades
- Games Played
- Games Created
Perhaps knowing the draw their technology would have for kids, Roblox also has designed a number of parental control features that parents can use to better protect their kids.
Automatic filtering for kids under 13
When setting up an account, if a user (or their parent) states that they are under 13, their account will have a few more protections put in place. For safety, however, their age is not revealed to other users, which is helpful in preventing bullying and other potential predatory behavior.
Link sharing is locked for these users (preventing people redirecting them to other websites), and public and private chats and posts will be even more strictly filtered for inappropriate content and personal information, to the point where there will be certain key words of phrases that they can’t post.
Roblox Account Restrictions
If, as a parent, you are concerned about the types of interactions and content your child may come across on Roblox, you do have some choice in terms of restricting the account.
For example, you can restrict who can find and message your child ( either to friends or block it completely).
You can also limit what games your child will be able to play to an approved list that is verified by the company, which dramatically mellows the amount of violence they will be exposed to. Games in this category, for example, don’t feature guns. Your kids may still search out games that aren’t on this list but won’t be able to play them.
If your kids are anything like ours, one of the first things they’ll do is try and disable any parental controls. Helpfully, you can prevent this happening by turning on a two-step authentication.
Basically, if someone tries to disable the controls, Roblox will send your email a security verification code that will have to be entered. This prevents the parental controls from being turned off and also lets you know someone is tampering with them.
If all else fails, Roblox does allow users to easily report inappropriate content and user activity to the company for review and bans.
A Note About Parental Controls
While giving more tools to parents to help monitor and protect their kids online is quite admirable, the reality is that no online (or offline) platform is truly 100% safe. There is simply no way to predict and prevent every single eventuality that could possibly occur.
For that reason it is up to parents to work with and teach their kids how to use the internet in a responsible and safe manner. That means keeping an eye on their activities, setting standards for appropriate behavior online, teaching them the importance of keeping private information private, and (perhaps most importantly) keeping an open line of dialogue so that kids can come to them and discuss any problems or issues that may arise.
Bottom Line: How good is Roblox for kids?
Considering everything we’ve discussed so far, it’s understandable that some parents may be apprehensive about letting their kids use Roblox even with the parental controls and the company’s effort at making their platform a safe community for all.
It’s just a video game site, right?
Well, actually the potential for Roblox in terms of learning is huge and potentially very useful to kids who are interested in coding and video games.
At its core, Roblox is a wide open sandbox based around the Lua programming language. It gives kids 10 and up a real, tangible coding experience that lets them freely experiment and directly ties what they’re learning to what they’re interested in doing (video games).
In terms of learning, kids have the ability to develop an understanding of:
- Coding & script creation
- User Interface Design
- Game Physics
As well as tools for the backend of the game industry and how it really works, such as in:
- Analytics and engagement
- Understanding monetization
- Video game marketing
- And more
But perhaps most importantly, unlike school or in courses, kids can feel free to try, fail, and try again in a non-threatening and open environment.
Because of this learning potential we believe that, while there are a few things to look out in terms of safety, with the proper controls implemented and with proper parental supervision, kids can strongly benefit from Roblox and it should be something for parents of budding video game enthusiasts to look at as an educational tool for STEM and coding.
Interested in letting your kids learn coding using Roblox?
Roblox’s ability to let users easily create and share real, high quality video games makes it extremely popular with kids. Due to this fact, many coding class providers are beginning to use it as a way of introducing kids to coding with Lua.
To help parents find a program that’s right for their kids, we took a look at quite a few providers and came up with a list of what we think are the best Roblox coding classes for kids.
About the Author
David Belenky is a freelance writer, former science and math tutor and a tech enthusiast. When he’s not writing about educational tech, he likes to chill out with his family and dog at home.