Why Do Your Grandkids Love Roblox So Much?
What is Roblox — Is it a toy? An app? A video game?
The answer may explain why kids love it so much — it’s a little bit of everything! Roblox is a video game that was originally released in 2006. It features blocky, cartoon characters that kind of look like Legos. The game can be accessed on the computer, on a video game console like Xbox, or even on a mobile device like an Android, iPhone, iPad or any tablet.
What’s so unique about Roblox is that it’s a platform for games, rather than a game itself. What does this mean?
Well, first and foremost, it means that Roblox is very, very popular. According to Business of Apps, Roblox had an average of 56 million daily active users in 2023 across 170 countries. A significant portion of Roblox’s population (67%) is 16 or younger. Finally, you may be surprised to hear that Roblox made $2.799 billion in 2023.
So, What is Roblox?
Roblox allows developers, which are the people who make video games, to create an account and use Roblox’s tools to make their own games that players can try out. These games can be just about anything. Social spaces, recreations of game shows, unique game experiences, and just about anything else that can be dreamed up by developers.
These developers can even monetize and make money off the games they create. This is because users can spend Robux, a digital currency exclusive to Roblox, to play games. If you’ve ever been asked to buy a Robux gift card before for your child or grandchild, you’ve actually purchased Robux!
Roblox is a multiplayer game, which means that players are playing and chatting with other people. As unique and popular as Roblox is, this means that there is a certain amount of concerns that parents have about the safety and security of Roblox.
What is the Appropriate Age to be Playing Roblox?
Roblox is rated to be a game OK for children 13 and older. The game has an Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating of T for Teen. That said, a significant portion of Roblox’s population is much younger than this.
This age recommendation is so high is because of the “mystery box” nature of Roblox. Other video games that you see at Walmart or Target will outline exactly what their content is on the box. These games will be rated E for Everyone or E-10 for ages 10 and up.
So why is Roblox’s ESRB rating so high?
This is because independent developers, rather than the Roblox company, create the content for children to play. With such high volumes of content created every day by developers, it’s difficult for Roblox to keep up with content moderation. Therefore, violent, sexual, and otherwise inappropriate content will sometimes be hosted on Roblox.
Roblox groups games created on the platform into categories to mitigate this risk. These games fall into four categories: All ages, 9+, 13+, and 17+. Therefore, it’s very important that when your child makes their Roblox account that their birthday is real and accurate.
Does Roblox have Parental Controls?
Yes. On Roblox’s for parents page, the company outlines that Roblox is meant to be a platform where kids can safely play games on their phones and computers. To achieve this, they’ve implemented a few key security features. Some of these features are:
- Reporting system: Report inappropriate users or people that abuse the chat so they can be removed from the platform.
- Built-in chat filters: Besides filtering inappropriate words, the filter also automatically censors names, phone numbers, addresses, and other sensitive information someone may be trying to share.
- Parental controls: Parents can choose how much (or little) access they want their child to have on Roblox. For example, parents can set a PIN that’s required before their child can log into Roblox. They can also restrict who their child can and cannot chat with.
- Restrict screen time: Parents can control when their children can play Roblox and for how long.
It’s recommended, if not necessary, that a (responsible) adult reviews the parental controls of Roblox before letting their kids play a game. Besides keeping their child safe from online predators and scammers, this will also prevent children from overspending on the game, as parents can restrict how much real-life money can be spent on Roblox items.
Do not let your child on Roblox without reviewing these controls first!
Is Roblox Safe? What Makes it Unsafe?
Roblox does a lot to keep its relatively younger audience safe from online criminals. However, at the end of the day, Roblox, and any other online game with text or voice chat capabilities, can be potentially dangerous to your child.
Online games are always a mixed bag. Unlike the playground or school, parents have almost no control over who plays games with their child. Children often lack the knowledge and experience about not sharing personal information with strangers online. This is why Roblox isn’t recommended for any child under the age of 13.
If you decide to let your child or grandchild have access to Roblox, you need to take the time to review the game’s parental controls as well as sit down with your child and talk to them about online strangers being dangerous.
What Else Do I Need to Know About Roblox?
Roblox can get very expensive. It is not free.
Roblox gift cards are redeemed for Robux, which is an intangible currency that the users (your children and grandchildren) spend. Unlike other games where you buy the game that the child plays, a Roblox gift card is effectively giving your child money to spend however they want.
On top of this, Roblox also has a monthly subscription that gives your child some Robux every month with a few other premium features.
When setting up a Roblox account, do not automatically link a credit or debit card to the account without first setting a limit for how much Robux your child can spend. If your child is too young to really understand money and there are no limits on how much Roblox, they can easily spend hundreds and even thousands of dollars on Robux without the parent knowing.
In summary, be very cautious with letting your child use Roblox. Unless you fully understand its monetization and online social features, and are comfortable setting up parental controls, you should not let your child use Roblox.