Access to Wide Content Base
Once an account is fully active, there is nothing to prevent any user (regardless of the age they registered with) from searching for and playing games that include inappropriate content. Children might even innocently stumble across this content if it is disguised as an engaging game. Roblox has had controversy in the past with simulated nudity and sex acts as well as extremist content being found in some of their games. Roblox believes this is due to the rapid growth of the platform, which has overwhelmed moderators. They have since invested in preventative measures, but they are not fool proof. Users can report a game or a creator if they feel the material within a game is inappropriate.
Online Chat and Private Messaging
As previously stated in this article, anyone can sign up for a Roblox account and partake in using the platform. This includes chat functions and private messaging, both in-game and outside of the game. Roblox encourages inter-user communication to try and create an online community. While done with the best intentions, there is the potential for users with a sexually deviant interest in children to take advantage of this for grooming purposes. There is also room for friends, either online or offline, to bully a child over their game design or complexity. There may even be pressure to play a certain game that others are playing too, even if it is inappropriate or makes your child uncomfortable.
Some game developers can disable in-game chat functions. Roblox has a series of “Community Rules” which it asks all users to follow, but it does not ensure appropriate behaviour across the board. A mixture of human and AI moderators are used to filter all chat for profanity, phishing, and adult/suggestive content. Reporting and blocking are also available for every user on Roblox.
In-Game Purchases and Screen-Time
While Roblox is free to use, there is massive encouragement for players to spend real money to enhance their experience. Roblox experienced a 68% increase in revenue over the pandemic. With easy-to-find pages dedicated to Robux bundles and options to purchase items to aid player progress, a child or young person may feel it is necessary to buy Robux to help build their following on the platform.
There is also the concern of screen-time usage. If a young person is unable to afford Robux bundles but wants to improve their standing in the game, they can sell items they have created by monetising their games. This sounds simple, but it requires a lot of work that is not guaranteed to pay off. A young person may spend too much of their screen-time on the platform trying to create and sell their items in exchange for Robux (or real money, in some cases).