The Ultimate Parent’s Guide to Roblox
If Lego and Minecraft had a baby, it would be Roblox
Your kids may be playing it or your kids may have requested to be part of Roblox. Should they be? Well, here’s what a parent needs to know about the gaming system.
Note: This is the Roblox official website.
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What is Roblox?
Roblox is a free, international and trendy online gaming platform. So, while it’s easy to dismiss it as a single game, it’s actually a platform. This means that people using Roblox create their own games for others to play. Visually, it looks like a marriage of LEGO and Minecraft.
Is Roblox a game? Yes, but not precisely. Roblox is a gaming platform that supports user-created multi-player games. Roblox refers to it as a “social gaming platform”. Players can play games while seeing other players and socially interacting with them in chat windows.
Who created Roblox and when?
David Baszucki and Erik Cassel created the platform in the early 2000s. It went public in 2006.
Where to play Roblox
Roblox is available on most platforms including Windows, Mac, iPhone/iPad, Android, Kindle Fire, and Xbox One. You can also play roblox on chromebook. Roblox even offers a range of figurines for imaginative offline play.
Users can also create groups or private servers to play privately with friends, chat on forums, create blogs, and trade items with other users. The activity is more restricted for children under 13 years old.
What is Roblox about?
Roblox has three main components: the games, the catalog of virtual items for sale, and the design studio to create and upload the content you create.
Different games will have different goals. For example, the game “Jailbreak” is a virtual cops and robbers game where you can choose to be a cop or a criminal. “Restaurant Tycoon” allows you to open and manage a virtual restaurant. “Faies and Mermaids Winx High School” allows virtual fairies to learn how to perfect their magical abilities.
Some kids may be more into social interaction, and some may prefer to spend time customizing their avatar with free and premium items. In addition to playing games, kids (and adults) can also create games that they can download and let others play.
How many people play Roblox?
According to Roblox as of February 2020, over 115 million people worldwide are playing the game. This number rapidly increased in July 2020 to over 164 million players, likely fueled by the pandemic and stay-at-home orders.
Over 2 million creators create games and communities, which continuously update the platform with new activities and features.
Roblox is free, Robux is not.
Roblox uses a freemium model. Creating an account is free, but there are perks and upgrades for spending money.
Roblox’s virtual currency is known as “Robux” and you can either pay real money for a virtual Robux or slowly accumulate it through gameplay. Robux is an international virtual currency and does not follow a one-to-one exchange rate with the US dollar. Currently, 400 Robux costs $4.95. The money goes both ways, if you have accumulated enough Robux you can exchange it for real currency.
In addition to buying Robux, Roblox offers “Roblox Builders Club” subscriptions for a monthly fee. Each membership tier gives kids an allowance of Robux, access to premium games, and the ability to create and belong to groups.
Robux gift cards are also available at retail stores and online.
Is Roblox safe for young children?
Roblox complies with the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act ( COPPA ), which regulates what information children under 13 are allowed to disclose. Chat sessions are moderated and the system automatically filters chat messages that look like attempts to disclose personally identifying information such as real names and addresses.
That doesn’t mean that predators could never find a way around filters and moderators. Discuss safe online behavior with your child and exercise reasonable supervision to ensure that they do not share personal information with “friends”. As a parent of a child under 13, you can also disable the chat window for your child.
Once your child is 13 or older, they will see fewer restrictions on chat messages and fewer filtered words. It’s important to make sure you stay in communication with your middle- and high-school-aged child about online social platforms. Scammers and phishing attacks are another thing older gamers need to watch out for. Like any other gaming platform, there are thieves who will try to access their accounts and steal players their virtual items and coins. Players can report inappropriate activity so moderators can take action.
Violence and young children
You can also watch a few matches to make sure you find the level of violence acceptable. Roblox avatars look like LEGO mini-figs and not realistic characters, but many games involve explosions and other violence that could cause the avatar to “die” by shattering into numerous pieces. Games can also include weapons.
Although other games have similar game mechanics (LEGO adventure games for example), adding the social aspect to the gameplay can make the violence more intense.
You know your child best, so your judgment is key here.
Jar language on Roblox
You should also be aware that when the chat window is open, there is a lot of “shit talk” in the younger chat windows. Filters and moderators remove more traditional swear words while leaving some “potty” language in, so kids like to say “poo” or give their avatar names something with poo in it.
If you are the parent of a school-aged child, this behavior is probably not surprising. Just be aware that your house rules regarding acceptable language may not conform to the Roblox rules. Disable the chat window if that’s a problem.
Design your own games
Roblox games are user-created, which means that all users are potential creators as well. Roblox allows anyone, even players under the age of 13, to download Roblox Studio and start designing games. Roblox Studio has built-in tutorials on setting up games and 3D worlds for gameplay. The design tool includes common default backgrounds and objects to get you started.
That doesn’t mean there isn’t a learning curve. If you want to use Roblox Studio with a younger child, we suggest they will need a lot of scaffolding by having a parent sit down with them and work with them to plan and create.
Older kids will find a wealth of resources both in Roblox Studio and in the forums to help them develop their game design skills.
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Make money with Roblox
Don’t think of Roblox as a way to make money. Think of it as a way for kids to learn some basics of programming logic and problem solving and as a way to have fun.
That being said, you should know that Roblox developers do not earn real money. However, they can be paid for in Robux, which can then be exchanged for real currency. There have already been a few players who have managed to make a lot of money in the real world, including a Lithuanian teenager who reportedly made over $100,000 in 2015. Most developers, however, don’t make that kind of money.