Urgent update on Roblox and Online Safety
I want to share some crucial insights and feedback from our discussions with Primary school-age children over the past few weeks, focusing on the online gaming platform - Roblox.
Roblox, as you would all be aware, has captured our children's imagination, especially in years 3-6, becoming a significant part of their online world. However, some aspects of this virtual playground require immediate attention and action as parents and guardians.
During our sessions, my team and I have seen a noticeable increase in the number of young students interacting with strangers within the game, engaging in chats and in-game activities that sometimes cross safety boundaries. In instances where children were asked to role-play as a girlfriend/boyfriend, mum/dad, nurse, or doctor, and offers of free in-game currency (Robux) in exchange for more often than not, inappropriate interactions were reported to us. In some cases, we have had to report these to the police.
Roblox has privacy settings and features that allow us to safeguard our children's online experiences. These tools enable us to restrict who can communicate with our young ones and what content they can access, but it doesn't stop what they can see. But do not rely on this to keep your kids safe. It does not prevent them from seeing things that are wildly inappropriate.
Some of the content has become a sex fetish -if you search "Roblox Sex" online, you will get millions of links to adult entertainment websites where Roblox videos have been uploaded. I am very concerned that some of these "Roblox Sex" videos may be children's avatars engaged in these acts - there is no way to tell. Children have reported what is nothing short of in-game sexual assault to me on more than one occasion, which has been reported to the police. As far as we know, only one major Adult Entertainment company has made the word Roblox and all of the ways it may be written (R.O.B.L.O.X for example to circumvent security) completely unsearchable on their sites.
Our active involvement, guidance, and open communication are pivotal. Let's foster an environment where our children feel comfortable discussing their online experiences, assuring them they can always turn to us or a trusted adult without fear of being banned from games or devices. They will speak up without fear so we can help them stay safe. There are concerning behaviours being normalised on Roblox, such as children's avatars lying next to strangers' avatars or encountering avatars lying around together in underwear.
At Safe on Social, we educate children to perceive their interactions on Roblox as visiting a place rather than merely playing a game. We encourage them to envision Roblox as visiting a vast shopping centre alone. Imagine if your child was wandering alone in a real-life shopping mall, and a stranger offered them money for inappropriate activities. The immediate reaction would be to flee, seek a trusted adult, and report the incident to authorities. We emphasise that the same safety principles should apply online within platforms like Roblox. Talk to them about Roblox like they are going to a shopping mall. We aim to cultivate a sense of online vigilance and safety among children, encouraging them to respond to uncomfortable online situations with the same urgency and seriousness as they would in real-life unsettling encounters.
Please learn to navigate the online playgrounds your kids are in, ensuring that your children's online adventures are safe, respectful, and joyous. Making sure they know it is safe to speak up is a great place to start.
You can download our free guide to Roblox here
Kirra Pendergast - CEO Safe on Social Group
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