You may have seen kids playing a blocky adventure game lately, or seen new toys while out shopping. Perhaps you thought it was Minecraft, or some kind of LEGO game. What you saw was most likely Roblox, a multiplayer online game that has been out since 2006, but grown leaps and bounds in just the last couple of years. In fall of 2018 it grew to over 70 million active users each month.
Roblox is similar to LEGO and Minecraft in that it is a game creation platform that utilizes LEGO-like blocks. Players have different options in Roblox: to play games designed by others, or create their own. Roblox has its own game-developing tool that can even gain money for creators by charging others to play. Most younger kids just want to play, and they have many, many games to choose from. These games can range from puzzles, to first-person shooters, to adventure and anything else you can think of.
Roblox, like any online game, has potential and pitfalls. If you're thinking of letting your child play Roblox, consider the pros and cons.
Pros of Roblox
Educational tool- The game creation software is a fun learning tool for kids. It's the Roblox Studio and there's FAQs and instructions for kids wanting to learn how to use it.
Entertaining- Roblox offers a wide variety of games for all ages of kids. The search function isn't that great, so the kids may need to try a lot of games before finding their favorites.
Parental settings- Roblox offers parental settings for their chat functions and who their kids can interact with.
Cons of Roblox
Costs- Roblox has a currency called Roblux that's required for certain games and settings. While Roblux is free, kids will be inundated with ads to buy Roblux. There are subscription models available.
Chat functions- There is a Chat & Party function with Roblox, and although chatting for kids under 13 is filtered, issues of language and content can arise. Like any social platform, there may be players out there with malicious intent.
Screen time- Roblux is a game that does not end. There are always things to do. This can be both a pro and a con. Kids may play too much Roblox at the expense of other activities.
The cons of Roblox can be mitigated by proactive parents. Parents should talk to their children about never chatting with strangers online and not sharing personal information. For younger children, consider shutting off the chat function entirely. Clear rules about spending money online should be talked about. Additionally, parents should communicate with their children about finding a balance between screen time and family time.
Common Sense Media recommends Roblox for ages 10 and up and more information about the game, including youth reviews can be found on their website.
Carrie Rogers-Whitehead is the founder of Digital Respons-Ability. She writes a column on digital parenting for KSL and regularly trains parents on technology. Contact her to learn more about her digital parenting workshops at firstname.lastname@example.org