When we visit schools throughout the country delivering seminars to children, parents and teachers focusing on how to stay safe online, we hear on a weekly basis about the online world that an increasing number of children inhabit and it’s not just apps and messaging that interest kids. Websites that create a virtual reality world are becoming increasingly popular. One such website is Roblox www.roblox.com  – a game creation site that allows users to design and upload their own games and play games in a multi player environment. So, what do you need to be aware of to ensure that your child stays safe if they play Roblox?

Roblox is particularly appealing as users can design their own games, so a concept that may start out as quite abstract can ‘come to life’ so, to speak, on screen. The makers of Roblox have a suggested age range of 8 to 18 on the games on the site. However, it is up to each individual parent to decide whether the game is appropriate for your child. Some of the games on Roblox can contain violence and weapons, so it is important to take a look at the site yourself to help you make an informed choice as to whether or not to allow your child to play. At the end of the day you are the best placed person to determine how mature your child is and what they can handle, both online and offline. Roblox is free to play but users can also purchase Robux , a virtual currency to buy in-game upgrades or accessories for their avatar. Roblox use avatars, cartoon like characters to identify players as instead of using real photographs of users.

Users of Roblox can also chat with others when playing. For children under 12 there is a safe chat option and a parent login that allows you to monitor your child’s use of the site. Also, when a user age 12 and under signs up on Roblox, they are automatically placed on controlled settings so that they can only directly message other users that are accepted as friends on Roblox. These features can of course offer reassurance to you but it is also important that your child knows how best to stay safe when or if they are gaming online, using Roblox or any similar site. Remind your child of the importance of only speaking to people they know when gaming. It can often be the case that a number of friends may game together initially, but as their confidence grows they may start to experiment more and could find themselves chatting with people they don’t know. Regularly reminding your child of the difference between the ‘real world’ and the ‘virtual’ world of gaming is also important. Having a healthy online, offline balance is crucial, really. Having times that are free from screens, having shared family screen free activities and encouraging creativity that does not involve digital devices are all important ways of helping to create and promote a balanced approach to gaming.

It’s undeniable that creativity and technology are becoming inextricably linked. No matter what form your child’s use of the internet is, it is important that they feel empowered to make smart choices that will help them to stay safe and be creative.