Some parents worry that the lack of moderation in the chat feature and uploaded user content leaves children at risk.
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More people have met through gaming now than ever before as online gaming help people feel less lonely.
But the lack of moderation in some games leaves children at risk of exposure to a worrying range of inappropriate adult content, bullying and abuse.
A netizen who is also a ‘parenting coach’ has raised concerned about a gaming app which is a favourite among children.
Mohd Fhais Salim wrote on Facebook that many parents remain unaware of the dangers of Roblox, an online game platform and game creation system.
Roblox, with an estimated 150 million monthly active users, encourages users to interact through its Chat & Party function.
According to Mohd Fhais, sex, bullying and violence are prevalent in Roblox.
He said it is also full of uncontrolled ‘adult content’ and teaches children about sexual issues in the wrong way.
Mohd Fhais added that the game exposes children to words like ‘crush’, ‘dating’, ‘sex’ and ‘private part’.
In short, children’s brains will be ‘brainwashed’ through the Roblox game, he surmised.
Mohd Fhais warned parents not to let their children play with what he calls a ‘garbage’ game.
His comments are backed by a BBC investigation which said Roblox contains sexually explicit rooms.
The site allows players to upload and play games and connect with friends or strangers using block-like avatars.
In the App Store, there is a notable lack of any reference to the sexualized content description of Roblox.
Critics said some of the avatars as extremely suggestive, if not close to pornographic.
While the game is designed to keep children as safe as it can, they may still be playing with people who they think are children, but might be adults as there is no maximum age limit on the app.
roblox lagi bahaya dari minecraft lol https://t.co/SCDhX6I5Ni— mair 🏴 (@alumairadnan) September 24, 2021
Safety Features In Roblox
Meanwhile, not all parents agree with Mohd Fhais and criticised him for not doing his homework.
In questioning his claims, they pointed out that all chat is filtered, which means inappropriate language is replaced by hashtag symbols.
Chatting in accounts of kids under 13 is more heavily filtered, and Roblox also employs human monitors who keep an eye out for inappropriate language and content.
Roblox Content Rated As Suitable For All Ages
Available on smartphones, tablets, desktop computers, the Xbox One, and some VR headsets, Roblox has an Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating of E10+ for Everyone 10 and up for Fantasy Violence, which means that typical gameplay should be suitable for most kids.
Roblox also comes with a Pan-European Game Information (PEGI) age rating of 7+. That means it has been passed as being able to be played by ages 7 years and up.
If a child is asking for permission or help in setting up a Roblox account, parents are advised to set up parental controls and monitor the child’s activity.
Parents can consider turning off the chat option and talking to children about the difference between a stranger and a friend.
Monitoring Your Child’s Online Use
Roblox is a free platform where players can dip in and out of different virtual worlds and play any game in them.
It’s packed with user-created content spanning a dizzying variety of genres and titles.
Our app of the week is Roblox!— Childproof America (@ChildProofUSA) March 9, 2022
Any game that allows your children to communicate or chat with strangers is a danger.
📣Don’t be scared, just be prepared and know what games your kids are playing online.
–#themoreyouknow 🌠 #appsafety #onlinesafety #onlineexploitation pic.twitter.com/vKEKQD5zRY
Children can configure their own privacy settings, but parents can take control over those settings.
With their child’s password, parents can access the account and turn on what Roblox calls Account Restrictions.
Here’s how to do it:
- Log into the account.
- Go to Account Settings by clicking on the gear icon.
- Select Privacy.
- Review the options under Contact Settings and Other Settings. Select No one or Friends or enable Account Restrictions (players age 13 and older have additional options).
Enabling Account Restrictions will lock an account’s Contact Settings so that no other user can send messages, chat in-app or in-experience, or find the account by its phone number.
None of these Contact Settings can be individually adjusted when Account Restrictions are turned on.
As there is a countless collection of games on Roblox, parents can also block out games which they consider inappropriate.