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More people have met through gaming than ever before because online games help people feel less alone.
But the lack of moderation in some games exposes children to a worrying range of inappropriate adult content, bullying and abuse.
A netizen who is also a “parental coach” has expressed concern about a gaming app that is a favorite with children.
Mohd Fhais Salim wrote on Facebook that many parents are still unaware of the dangers of Roblox, an online gaming platform and game creation system.
Roblox, with around 150 million monthly active users, encourages users to interact through its Chat & Party feature.
According to Mohd Fhais, sex, bullying, and violence are prevalent in Roblox.
He said it’s also full of out-of-control “adult content” and teaches kids about sexual issues in the wrong way.
Mohd Fhais added that the game exposes children to words like “crush”, “date”, “sex” and “private part”.
In short, children’s brains will be “brainwashed” through the Roblox game, he surmised.
Mohd Fhais has warned parents not to let their children play with what he calls a ‘garbage game’.
His comments are backed up by a BBC investigation that Roblox contains sexually explicit rooms.
The site allows gamers to download and play games and connect with friends or strangers using block avatars.
— World News Guru (@worldnews_guru) May 5, 2022
In the App Store, there is a noticeable lack of any reference to describing Roblox’s sexualized content.
Critics said some of the avatars were extremely suggestive, even bordering on pornography.
Although the game is designed to keep children as safe as possible, they can still play with people they think are children, but may 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
Security Features in Roblox
Meanwhile, not all parents agree with Mohd Fhais and blame him for not doing his homework.
Questioning his claims, they pointed out that all chats are screened, which means inappropriate language is replaced with hashtag symbols.
Chat in accounts for children under 13 is more heavily filtered, and Roblox also employs human monitors who watch for inappropriate language and content.
Roblox content rated as suitable for all ages
Available on smartphones, tablets, desktops, Xbox One, and select VR headsets, Roblox has an Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) rating of E10+ for everyone 10 and over for Fantasy Violence, which means that typical gameplay should be fine for most kids.
Roblox also comes with a PEGI (Pan-European Game Information) age rating of 7+. This means that it was considered to be playable from the age of 7.
If a child asks for permission or help to create a Roblox account, parents are advised to set up Parental Controls and monitor the child’s activity.
Parents may consider turning off the chat option and telling kids about the difference between a stranger and a friend.
Monitoring your child’s online usage
Roblox is a free platform where players can enter and exit different virtual worlds and play any game there.
It’s packed with user-created content spanning a dizzying variety of genres and titles.
Our app of the week is Roblox!
Any game that allows your children to communicate or chat with strangers is dangerous.
📣 Don’t be afraid, get ready and know what games your kids are playing online.
–#the more you know 🌠 #appsafety #onlinesafety #online mining pic.twitter.com/vKEKQD5zRY
— Child Proof America (@ChildProofUSA) March 9, 2022
Kids can configure their own privacy settings, but parents can take control of those settings.
With their child’s password, parents can access the account and enable what Roblox calls Account Restrictions.
- Log in to the account.
- Go to account settings by clicking the gear icon.
- Select Privacy.
- Review the options under Contact Settings and Other Settings. Select Nobody or Friends or enable account restrictions (players 13+ have additional options).
Enabling account restrictions locks down an account’s contact settings so that no other user can send messages, chat in the app or experience, or find the account by phone number.
None of these contact settings can be adjusted individually when Account Restrictions are enabled.
Since there is an innumerable collection of games on Roblox, parents can also block games they deem inappropriate.