Digital parenting is debuting with kids and preteens hooked on gaming giant Roblox’s interactive and open-access platform. Parents realize kids’ autonomy to choose games and who they socialize with online has risks. The challenges surface as a significant percentage of kids below the age of 16 is alongside the many millions of gamers playing daily.
Roblox’s open-access and online chat feature demands parents’ vigilance as their preteens’ visibility on the gaming platform is at stake. Roblox’s design as an interactive gaming platform, the immersive gaming structure, a personalized avatar, and Roblox currency Robux are concerns.
Parents realize parenting in the digital world needs additional skills as Roblox gaming doesn’t have a manual. Signing kids into the Roblox gaming platform has unexpected hitches as the excitement of kids – primarily preteens – to join the popular gaming platform leaves these overlooked. Parents learn about the pitfalls of Roblox gaming through trial and error.
1. Roblox Avatar Can Be Stressful For Kids
Choosing and making an avatar seems harmless, which it is. With Roblox’s motto as Play Make Learn and especially stressing play, the concept of a personalized avatar appears just as creative. The complexity of owning an avatar is not self-evident at the outset. But what parents realize is that their kids’ online presence is the embodiment of their kids.
The kids feel pride in making their avatars and are protective of their creations. There’s a narrow gap between their kid’s digital presence (the avatar) and their physical self. Kids inadvertently own their avatars’ successes and don’t mind the challenges. Still, as Roblox is an interactive and open-access gaming platform, kids are affected by other gamers’ responses and attitudes.
The spontaneous nature of the Roblox online community carries flaws as the players of all ages play games and use Roblox’s online chat. Players use their avatars to teleport from one game to another and be in Roblox’s augmented reality. The avatar represents players in the Roblox meta-verse.
2. Kids Pressure To Keep Up With Other Avatars In Roblox
Like in everyday life, the kids experience pressures in life and the gaming world. Kids are attached to their avatars as their creations and feel the pressure to have what other gamers have in their avatars. Kids quickly pick up what other gamers deem popular. Kids also learn that it costs real money to change or accessorize their avatars.
In the Roblox-verse, the currency is the Robux and earned. But mostly, kids ask their parents for money in a Roblox account to be able to buy the items they want and to keep up with other players’ avatars. Parents are not at the outset aware of these costs (and pressures) and soon have to moderate this minefield. At this stage, Roblox has hooked kids.
3. Kids Experience Unwholesome Competition With Roblox
Parents realize that Roblox as an online gaming platform promotes cognitive skills like problem-solving, learning, and play. Parents recognize that kids’ avatars make them vulnerable based on superficialities like the look and clothing rather than skills the kids more than likely have to play a good game.
Parents see how everyday demands and peer pressures get transposed into the digital realm. These pressures filter through to affect parents who become aware of a consumer strategy by Roblox and through the Roblox store to get kids to spend. Developers on the platform use Robux to advertise their games within the platform.
Parents realize that the stereotypes and wasteful spending are repeated in the digital gaming space through pressures on kids to invest in their avatars. The stats reflect figures during the peaking of Roblox gaming at the early stages of the Covid-19 lockdown. That year kids’ and preteens’ spending amounted to Roblox’s close to $1.2bn earnings.
4. Roblox Social Interactions Cause Frictions
The openness of the Roblox platform allows for the same frictions as those in everyday life. The platform is no different from what kids encounter at playgrounds. Kids experience hostility and aggressive behavior. Parents have to intervene in moderating as the kids don’t necessarily have the coping skills. Kids are on the platform to have fun.
5. Roblox Shop Causes Rivalry
Kids on the Roblox gaming platform want to be part of the fandom like the everyday peer pressures. The competitiveness associated with kitting out avatars becomes evident in items in the Avatar Shop, an online catalog of virtual objects to buy for their avatars. Players can also design and sell their goods. The currency is Robux or cash.
Kids’ avatars define their status, and sometimes the 3-D wardrobe of an avatar costs a fortune. Kids naturally want the same items, and soon a pattern starts for wanting the same things. It’s unlikely that parents were aware of these pressures when they first agreed to kids joining the Roblox gaming platform.
6. Kids Experience Bullying On Roblox
Kids are open to bullying on the Roblox online platforms, and sometimes this is about how their avatar looks. Parents have to mediate between their kids’ feelings and vulnerability to keep up with the superficialities like how their avatar looks. Parents see their kids’ sadness. Younger players are also vulnerable to bullying through their chosen avatar.
As Roblox’s gaming platform has no age restriction, the source of the bullying is also not always clear. Parents are aware that others can pick on their kids. Still, as there is no age restriction for players, and as the platform also is a microcosm of everyday society, the behavior is not unexpected.
7. Kids Are Teased And Mocked On Roblox
The avatar that a kid chooses exposes them to the same kind of teasing, mocking, and bullying in everyday life. Parents have become aware of this, and sometimes it is as simple as the height, too short, or even the wrong colors that attract attention, and kids are teased or mocked. The kids are called ‘T-bag’ or ‘Trash.’
Kids are singled out and made to feel inferior through their affinity with their avatars.
8. Kids Can Become Secretive About Roblox
Parents have to contend with double-bind situations like Roblox’s values for cognitive development through gaming and the unanticipated human side of players. The avatar is close to a kid, and if a kid is mocked, teased, or bullied, they might not open up to parents for fear they wouldn’t be allowed to play on Roblox. Often kids don’t let on their feelings.
9. Roblox’s Open-Access Chats Pose Threats
The design of Roblox’s open access chats performs a social function that gamers’ unsavory behavior can hijack. Kids can be drawn in on conversations and divulge personal information. Parents do learn along the line that Roblox does not moderate chats, nor do the online discussions have filters. The chat platform is open to all on Roblox.
10. Free-Roaming On Roblox Can Harm Kids
Parents often are not gamers or on the Roblox gaming platform themselves and by circuitous routes, find out what the pitfalls are. The kids are not Roblox’s meta-verse -wise either. As kids can easily roam freely on the platform, they are vulnerable. Only after a preteen speaks about this do parents become aware.
The downside is that parents have to watch over the content and even censor games. Parents rely on their kids to tell them, which doesn’t always happen. Parents might even have to rely on other parents to look out and report wrong things to protect kids.
11. No Age Restriction On Roblox A Threat To Kids
A disadvantage of kids being on the Roblox online platform is that it’s open to all age groups. The openness allows for all kinds of gaming and conversations in online chats. The kid is vulnerable to peer pressure and bullying from older kids, teens, and adults. Parents often only mediate retrospectively.
12. Roblox Can Harbor Stalkers And Predators
Roblox has no way to anticipate predatory behavior. Parents often stand guard to stop online predators from getting information from their kids – mostly the preteen age groups. Once parents become aware, they alert others via social media.
Predators use various modus operandi, and some lure unsuspecting kids onto social platforms to get their details. The unmoderated chats and the nature of Roblox’s open forum renders kids vulnerable and put extra demand on parents.
13. Parents Need To Set Privacy Settings
Parents often are not aware that settings on all devices need to be private and set in advance. Roblox does point this out. Kids on the Roblox gaming platform are largely under twelve, and some are as young as five and six years old. Parents are aware that Roblox uses human monitors and technology to weed out predators, but until this happens, the kids are vulnerable.
Kids can easily chat online between seven and nine and give personal details.
14. Open Content Is A Threat To Kids On Roblox
Parents have to be vigilant to protect kids from some content on Roblox’s gaming platform. Parents are not always aware of such open content, especially when the player-base and the developers of games are vastly diverse. The challenge is to have kids play on the gaming platform without having to police their actions and what they see.
15. Parents’ Role About Roblox Is Not Clear
Roblox draws a large audience to its online gaming platform, but it so happens that a large proportion is preteens. Parental supervision is as vital online as offline. Most of the information, though, on the role of parents is not from Roblox but found on online sites of concerned parents.
Parents face new challenges of a digital nature and more demands on their parenting skills.
Roblox’s purpose as an interactive and innovative gaming platform poses unexpected parenting challenges related to the unpredictability of virtual reality. Parents’ role as active overseers of kids’ well-being tests the nature of openness on Roblox’s gaming platform.