DETROIT – Parents of teens or tweens have probably heard of Roblox.
It’s an online platform that lets kids play and even create several different games.
During the COVID pandemic, it’s become a way for kids to connect.
Experts warn that parents need to take steps to make sure their children are using it safely become their devices get hacked or before they get approached by strangers.
“You can make your own avatar and live change how it looks. And you can get some games. You can, like, build stuff,” 11-year-old Kaia Pilat said.
Kaia Pilat likes to build on Roblox.
“My favorite thing is called Marksburg. It’s where you can, like, make your own house and fun stuff like avatars,” she said.
Her father, Scott Pilat, said he likes how it lets her be creative and how it’s allowed her to keep up and connect with school friends.
Security expert Scott Bailey had Kaia Pilat show him how Roblox works and in a matter of seconds another avatar approached and asked her for “game money.”
“This is another person, right. This is a human being who has an avatar that is coming up and asking her for money or be my friend. And that’s what I don’t think a lot of parents, you know, really understand,” Bailey said.
Bailey said parents need to spend time learning how gaming platforms like Roblox work as well as understanding the security within the game.
Roblox has improved safety settings and has added two-factor authentication to keep passwords and accounts from being hacked.
“That is one of the best ways to protect your account from being taken over and whatever money invested in your game being stolen. So, in your settings two-factor authentication and then if somebody new tries to sign in to your account you’ll get an email,” Bailey said.
Chat features can be filtered to keep phone numbers from being shared and to block certain words.
“You can actually go in and set all the security settings, set all of the privacy settings for your child’s account the way you want. So that they can’t communicate with complete strangers, or maybe they can only communicate with friends,” Bailey said.
Parents can also set up a pin code so the child can’t change the security settings.
The security is in place for Kaia Pilat. But for many other children playing the game, parents are unaware of the security risks and that can put their child at risk.
READ: Keeping your family safe in the digital world
Roblox safety features to protect kids includes:
Parent controls so parents can limit or disable online chat and restrict access to games that are not age-appropriate.
Chat filters to remove inappropriate words and conversations.
Roblox has a feature that makes sure all player avatars are wearing appropriate clothing.
There is a system to report problems with messages and content.
Click here to learn more about what Roblox is doing to help protect children online.
READ: Advice for talking to kids about COVID-19 vaccine
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