Roblox is a video game geared towards children of ages 10 years and up that contains a series of mini online multiplayer games. All of these are done in a style similar to Minecraft and LEGO, and all of these games are user-created. This means that anyone with a Mac or PC can download the Roblox Studio and start creating their own game, which obviously presents a slew of problems for parents who like to keep an eye on what their children are actually playing online.
Much like Minecraft, Roblox is rich with educational possibilities for children. That said, there are still a few significant problems parents must be aware of before downloading Roblox or allowing their children to put Roblox on their favorite device.
The Roblox Parents Guide to Robux, the chat filter, & more below is sure to help any parents who might be unsure about the game and whether or not Roblox is safe for children.
Important Note: While Roblox is “officially” aimed at those 10 years and up, we frequently see younger players being allowed to play it. Look, we’re not here to tell you how to parent, but you should know that there is definitely some questionable content contained within the game that those younger than 10 shouldn’t be exposed to. So, allow them to play at your own risk.
What are Robux and Microtransactions?
Though the parent’s guide in Roblox tries to address any concerns about microtransactions, they fail to mention just how prolific microtransactions are within Roblox. The appeal to buy Robux (the digital currency used within Roblox) is quite literally everywhere, no matter what age range you choose.
Roblox Customizable Avatar
At the very beginning, after you sign-up, you are asked to create an avatar. Though the interface and controls are a little confusing at first, it won’t take long before your child finds the Roblox money button in the upper right-hand corner. This is not intrusive, nor does the menu doesn’t pop up when you tap on a certain type of clothing.
The problem is purely situational and will depend on your child’s preferences. When customizing your Roblox avatar, there are only three options to choose from in the clothes and hair category. The options are 2 to 0 in all other categories.
Compared to something like Minecraft where kids can build their own avatar from scratch, Roblox is limiting. As such, your child might ask you for some Robux (which requires a microtransaction using real-world dollars) to get something more than three plain outfits.
Roblox In-Game Purchases
At least the avatar problem can be avoided, in-game purchases are entirely different. To be clear, I will use in-game purchases to refer to microtransactions that occur within Roblox games and microtransactions when referring to purchases that can be made in the Roblox app itself.
Almost every game you can play in Roblox is littered with in-game purchases and they cannot be avoided. In almost every game (by almost, I mean 90%) you are presented with extensive in-game purchase options, ranging from gameplay advantages to avatar customizations. More often than not, this shop menu appears before the tutorial for the game has begun, making it especially difficult to exit out of.
In addition, unlike Google Play or the App Store, there is no warning in the app description to tell you whether or not this game has in-game purchases what monetary value they are.
How Can You Turn Microtransactions Off In Roblox?
You cannot turn off the microtransactions in Roblox, and that’s probably the biggest issue many parents might have. The best advice Roblox gives parents is to create a difficult to guess password for such transactions.
While that is certainly a valid option and something that should be done regardless for security purposes, it would be best to teach your child the nuances of microtransactions and how to avoid them. This depends on their age, of course, and the decisions are ultimately up to the parent and whether or not they can trust their child to not purchase Robux.
Roblox Chat Filter
If you register your child as under 13 in Roblox, the chat filters and privacy settings are automatically set. If you log-in as a guest, chat and private messages are automatically disabled. By chat filters, they mean that the chat is completely disabled. There is no way for children registered under 13 to interact with other players.
Register for over 13, and you can adjust the privacy and chat filters however you please.
Roblox Under 13
The app is relatively harmless, save for the prolific microtransactions. All the games are age appropriate and are filtered accordingly, there are very few that slip through the cracks. Those that do are usually too subtle for your child to understand the underlying meaning or issues adults might have with the game.
For example, Escape School Obby has children “escaping” class, avoiding teachers, and heading into a vent. The vent brings players to the janitor’s closet, which must be crossed carefully due to the bright blue chemical spill.
If you land in this spill, your avatar falls into pieces, much like a LEGO toy would if it was dropped. Depending on your parental methods of censorship, such themes may or may not be appropriate for your child.
What Does Roblox Look Like Over 13?
If you register your child as 13 years old or over, the chat filter is automatically off and private messages are allowed. Again, depending on your parental methods of censorship, some content within the chats can be inappropriate. Though it is easy to get around such filters and there will incidents where someone doesn’t follow the rules, for the most part, people are nice to each other.
That is to say nothing of the game content available to ages over 13. There are plenty of horror games where the player is being chased, usually by something like a clown or a farmer with a pitchfork.
One example in particular, called “Survive a Killer Clown Attack at a Carnival” has the player begin in a maze, eventually escaping to an open area with a carnival tent. The clown’s appearance is bloody and stained, its expression angry with a maniacal sharp-toothed grin. When you are “caught” by the clown, the screen flashes red and you can see the knife the clown is using on you.
Whether or not you think this is appropriate for your 13-year-old to encounter, is up to you as the parent. In addition, I found and was able to play Survive a Killer Clown Attack at a Carnival while being registered as under 13. As such, it is important to note that the Roblox filter system is not at all perfect.
If you do not think such content is something for your child, then it might be best to avoid Roblox altogether, as most games have similarly subtle themes.
Gun Violence In Roblox
Once again, if you believe the above is not suitable for your child, the knock-off Fortnite and other shooter games available in Roblox are not going to be either. They are explicit and come right out with proper guns, explosions, shooting animations, and death or KO (knocked out).
The chat in these games is not unlike what you can find in more adult multiplayer shooters, where players are calling each other names and exclaiming victory an inappropriate and rude manner. Regardless of your parental methods of censorship, you need to be aware that your child can find these games very easily and play them.
Please keep in mind that horror games, shooters, and other violent games are only playable if you register as over 13. If you register as under 13, as seen in the picture above for Hello Neighbor, you will see the message “the game is unavailable due to account restrictions settings” instead of the play button.
Should Roblox Be Banned?
Not at all! The age range of 10 and over is appropriate enough for parents to be able to explain microtransactions as something off limits and prevent any interaction with less than innocent games.
For older children, it’s a great way for parents to teach them how to avoid unhealthy content on the internet at large and any other online multiplayer games. Furthermore, not all games are terrible, and some are utterly harmless and, dare I say, even cute. Some games have you making pizza and others have you racing to get the perfect fashionable outfit for the catwalk.
In addition, Roblox Studio is a great way for children to learn how to make their own games, teaching extremely necessary skills in logic and spatial awareness. Roblox Studio is a great creative outlet and Roblox itself can be a fascinating study in how video games are constructed and how to do them better.