Roblox is a huge online platform (with 12 million monthly active users and rising) where players can create and interact in what its makers describe as "immersive 3D worlds." And it’s free…..sort of.

Players create an avatar for themselves and are given a small amount of digital money to rent a house. However, if you want to furnish your house, or change your avatars outfits (which they will) you’ll need real money invested into the game. Not surprisingly there is peer pressure to have the best, newest outfits so be prepared for your child to ask for some money to help play the game.

But, what are the risks of your child playing Roblox? Here's what you need to know about this online gaming platform.

Roblox is a multi player online game which means that users can play in the games and worlds that other people have created. Not only that but they can interact and make friends with the other players’. They simply wander around the online world and stop and engage with other players along the way. These players can then invite them in to other rooms and houses and this is where things can get out of hand.

Adult content and pornography have been prolific on the site and players are routinely approached by other players who are strangers. This can lead to inappropriate message, conversations, suggestions and even acts.

Unfortunately, the actions and conversations in these rooms can often be very inappropriate for children, with it being very easy for the avatars to not only proposition each other but the characters can also shockingly engage in acts that are sexual in nature.

Like any online multiplayer game, there is minimal control over who or how old the people are that you are playing Roblox with. Privacy settings and account restrictions should always be enabled for your child’s account. However, even if you have enabled the strictest of chat settings, thereby - blocking inappropriate words and phrases - children are still vulnerable to being targeted by predators. Also, as our kids are often pretty savvy (and may not want the extra controls in place) it pays to check the settings from time to time to ensure your child hasn’t been back in and altered the settings.

What is difficult to monitor and control, is the online engagement or chatter.

Unlike other platforms you cannot play as a single player or restrict games to friends only, which means that they can, and will, be chatting to strangers on Roblox.

So, what should you do right now?

Use the Parental controls available. Set them up to the standard that you are happy with for your child. Check the privacy settings and make sure your kids other social media accounts, such as their YouTube channel, are not listed. Don't have any personal information in the account settings, as it’s not necessary.

Now you may not be popular for putting in place strict parental controls, so in addition to keeping an eye on the settings, watch out for ghost accounts. These are secondary accounts that kid’s setup that you are unaware of. Be vigilant and check in on their accounts to see what access they have.

You’re able to track what your child is doing on ROBLOX. You have the ability to check their…

  • Creations
  • Chat histories
  • Friends and followers
  • Purchases and trade histories

You can help them with blocking and reporting any inappropriate users. See here for more information from Roblox for Safety Features, Account settings, Blocking users etc https://en.help.roblox.com/hc/en-us/articles/36000...

As always, it’s really important to familiarise yourself with the settings available so you can lock the platform down to the level you’re happy with for your child to play. Additionally, ask your child to show you what they’re doing and learn as much as you can about the platforms that they’re using. When you understand the platform, it makes it a lot easier for you to monitor it.