This month's game rating guide is for super popular and sometimes controversial game, Roblox. This is an important game for parents to understand as the official rating doesn't cover content made by other players in the game.Roblox is a amateur game-maker/-player system for Xbox, PC, tablets and smartphones. Although it looks visually unappealing compared to professionally made games, it attracts millions of young players to play online together because of its varied and unusual games its makers have created.
These games have the feel of the playground. Often role playing adults scenarios like work, war and home making each game evolves with the huge community of players.
Roblox can be seen as the largest social platform for children in the world and for many children will be their first encounter with internet interactions.
You need to create games on the PC, rather than tablets, smartphones of Xbox One. These games can then be published and include in-game-purchases to make creators money.Rating
In the UK and Europe, PEGI rated Roblox as suitable for those 7 years and older for frequent scenes of mild violence and scenes which younger children may find frightening.
The Video Standards Council expanded on the PEGI rating by saying, "Violence is very mild and consists of blocky, action-figure and stick-like humanoid characters competing in various child-friendly games. Armed with fists, swords or guns they can hit each other until they fall apart and disappear. Blood and injuries are not depicted."
However they noted that "user generated content has not and cannot be rated by PEGI. Parental guidance is advised." They only looked at sample games (made by the developer themselves rather than users) at the time of rating,
"Violence can be found in the following games: Coalesce, Fisticuffs, Heroes, Ripull Minigames, ROBLOX Dodgeball, Skybound II, Super Check Point and TNT Rush. Frightening scenes can occur in the game Stop it, Slender! 2. The aim of the game is to run around darkened locations collection pages. Slender Man can jump out of the darkness and scare you. If you do not look away fast enough you lose the game."
In the US, the ESRB rated Roblox as E 10+, suitable for children 10 and older. The ESRB didn't detail specific games, instead indicating the "possible exposure to unfiltered/uncensored user-generated content, including user-to-user interactions and media sharing via social media and networks."User Generated Content
Roblox users can make games for other players to enjoy. This is a creative and educational aspect of the gam. However, like any game with this kind of "user created content", parents need to take additional care.
There are some Roblox games that have intentionally horror related, violent and bloody themes. These are not provided in the original download so fall outside the rating system.
The example above this Slender Man themed. The example below is called Hotline Roblox, and is a game where players attack each other with knives and guns until they fall over and then attack the prone bodies to kill them where upon pixelated blood splatters and severed limbs are seen.Parental Controls
There are comprehensive parental control settings on the Roblox website and excellent guidance for concerned parents.
Register your child's accounts with the correct date of birth to ensure appropriate safe-chat mode is applied for those under 13. You also get a parent login that lets you oversee your child's use of the site.
However, it's important to know that the specified age doesn't filter the content in the games. All players can access all the games regardless of their age.
You can restrict the list of games to a limited list curated by Roblox staff as follows:
Log-in to roblox.com.
Click the Gear icon in the top right.
Select Settings | Security.
Enable the Account Restrictions slider.
You can restrict online interactions with different players via the Roblox website.
Log-in to roblox.com.
Click the Gear icon in the top right.
Select Settings | Privacy.
Restrict interactions via Content Settings and Other Settings.
Because you can't disable Friend Requests in Roblox it's worth parents keeping an eye on the Friend Requests page on the website.Xbox Parental Controls
Controlling Roblox on the Xbox is different to PC,Mac and Tablet.
Firstly, the Xbox One's own controls for Xbox Live friends requests doesn't effect making Roblox friends. However, children cannot make Roblox friends while on Xbox due to Microsoft platform policies. They have to invite/make friends on the PC/Mac/Tablet.
You can restrict online interactions and games on Xbox one as follows:
Select the Account Settings page.
Identify the Linked Account.
Apply restrictions via roblox.com for this account.
Toggle on/off Cross Platform Gameplay to limit who your children can play with. (Note: Currently Roblox doesn't support cross platform messaging, so Xbox players can't message players on other platforms.)
Enabling cross-platform play is also a nice way to play Roblox with friends and family in the same room -- one on Xbox and the other being on mobile or computer.In-App Purchases
Although Roblox is free to play most games offer special clothing, weapons and gear for purchase via Robuxs. This requires real money and children will likely be keen to try them out. The items are advertised in the game directly as well as on the Roblox website.
It's important, therefore, that you have passwords on any credit cards associated with the game account.Alternative Games
Parents looking for alternatives to Roblox can consider Minecraft (PEGI 7+) that offers similar functions in its online servers with higher standards for user generated content.
There are also other games that offer similar game-making options without masses of online strangers could consider.
Lego Worlds (PEGI 7+)
Disney Infinity 3.0 (PEGI 7+)
Little Big Planet 3 (PEGI 7+)
There are also alternatives that offer similar novel and quirky game-play.
Unbox: Newbies Adventure (PEGI 3+)
Stardew Valley (PEGI 7+)
The Escapists 2 (PEGI 7+)
Portal Knights (PEGI 7+)
Dragon Quest Builders (PEGI 7+)