As a parent, it’s likely you’ve heard of Roblox before.
Children love playing games, whether it’s online or in person. As parents, it’s normal to get anxious about playing games in an environment that isn’t under supervision. We worry that they may experience something they aren’t ready for or do something unexpected. But at the same time we want our children to understand the online world and have a healthy relationship with it, so they can do so as adults too. If used correctly, Roblox for kids can be an opportunity to start having discussions about online safety and money management.
We understand that some parents are concerned about Roblox, so we’ve put together some useful tips to help parents understand what Roblox is and how to manage it with their kids.
What is Roblox for kids?
Roblox is a platform that allows you to play video games designed by others. You can download the platform on your phone, tablet or on your PC/Macbook. It’s free to download and free to start playing.
Who’s designing those video games? Anyone can: other teens, tweens and adult coders are all welcome. It gives game makers an opportunity to create and publish games to a community without having to get funding for commercial release. The creators get constant feedback from the players, and so can easily adjust the game and change the rules according to the demand.
The games for kids range from running your own business, to building your own theme park, to scouring for treasure underwater. In almost every game, the player is surrounded by other users played by real people. This allows chats and other multiplayer features. The chat is moderated by Roblox, and can be turned off through the parental control function.
The Roblox world is full of creative games and learning opportunities, however it is normal that parents are a little anxious about this online gaming platform and its various risks. In the UK, Roblox is rated PEGI 7 – this means the games provided in the original download are suitable for children over the age of 7. Children are also incentivised to spend real money by buying Robux – the Roblox currency – in the game, which they can use to upgrade equipment and outfits. This is how the game makers make money from the game.
How to pay for things on Roblox
It’s worth setting up the Roblox account together with your child, so you can make sure they input the correct birth date and therefore have an age appropriate version of the app and content. You can also make sure your child doesn’t adjust any of the settings by activating an account PIN, as well as setting the chat settings to turn off the multiplayer chat.
Payments come through as in-app purchases through a Google Play Store account, a Microsoft account or an Apple account, so this means payments go through the debit/credit card associated with the account connected to your device. This could be your own debit/ credit card or your child’s card if they have one. How will your child be paying? On the account, there is a “R$” icon on the top right corner. This displays the total amount of Roblox money your child owns. All you need to do is click on the icon and the app will take you to a screen with a list of payment methods. If your iTunes account is password protected, you’ll need to enter your password before doing any purchases.
Children can also earn Robux: if they create and publish a game that is successful or complete certain challenges, they get to keep the Robux they earn and turn it into real money. They must be over the age of 13, have a PayPal account and pay a Roblox premium subscription.
Managing kids and Roblox
Roblox can create anxiety for parents for two main reasons:
- exposure to an unexpected situation the child isn’t ready for
- overspending on Mum’s credit card.
Roblox could be your child’s first time interacting with the virtual world, so it provides an excellent opportunity for parents to help children develop healthy digital habits from the beginning. The parental controls allow you to turn off Roblox’s social features, which gives you an opportunity to slowly introduce your child into the virtual gaming world. Eventually, your child will be using other social networking platforms, so take this time to talk about internet safety and being nice to others online in this supervised environment.
It’s good practice to sit down with your child and have a discussion about your thoughts on gaming online. Have a conversation with them before opening an account so they understand that they can spend real money (by buying Robux) in this game. You’ve probably disabled in-app purchases, so when Roblox sends you a notification at the point of purchase, that could be a good opportunity to have a conversation on making purchases online.
You can protect purchases by password protecting your iTunes or GPlay account, however it’s always good to also let them know and talk to them about your concerns. The goal is to help your child be responsible without relying on you or parental controls.
Start by playing Roblox with your child. See what kind of games they are playing, how they’re playing and the kind of people they interact with. Not only does this give you a sense of the environment they’re in, but it also shows that you care about their passions and are willing to spend time understanding the game. In the long run, they will be more likely to come to you for help and keep you updated on what they’re doing online.
How to teach kids about money with Roblox
Roblox also offers an opportunity for parents to open up the conversation about money and the commercial side of Roblox. By putting your children in charge of their own money online, it helps build both financial and digital habits early on.
You can choose to connect your iTunes or Google Play account to their own card (if they have one), transfer over enough for a subscription and let them budget the money. You can also set up a process so you receive a request from Apple, Microsoft or Google Play every time your child wants to make a purchase.
Using real money in Roblox will give children the opportunity to learn how to budget their money: do they want to spend $2 on an online avatar kit? Or a snack after school? Or save it for later? Walk them through the process of buying something online and then show them how the money leaves their bank account.
The next generation will grow up in a world full of virtual platforms for spending, socialising and making money, just like Roblox for kids. In order for them to form healthy digital and financial habits, we have a responsibility as adults to help them navigate the world from a place of safety and understanding. Encouraging communication with your child when they open an account will help them become more responsible over time with both money and social media.
How do you manage Roblox with your kids? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org and it might get featured in a future blog!