fbpx

ROBLOX: How to keep kids safe in the game

Roblox is a virtual platform that makes many possibilities available to users, from creating new games to playing other users’ productions

According to a report published by Roblox Corporation this year in August, the platform has reached the mark of having 48 million active users playing daily. This number is expressive not only in terms of the quantity of players, but also in the hours that players spend connected to the platform: more than 4 billion hours were spent playing during the analyzed period. 

This universe of possibilities has attracted many kids – as well as parents’ attention. We have already written a complete guide for parents to help them pay attention to certain aspects of Roblox when their kids are playing it. 

In this article, we are going to talk about how to make your kid’s experience safer and understand a little more about how the platform works. 

How parental control is done on Roblox  

Roblox offers some parental control possibilities, such as limiting chat functions, account restrictions (so that the user can access only Roblox’s curated content) and age visibility, which determines the settings for kids. 

Activating account restrictions:

Click on the security option within settings. Next to account restrictions, switch the button position to activate the restrictions. The button will turn green and the following message will appear on the screen: “Account restrictions are currently enabled”. This means you have successfully enabled account restrictions. 

By doing so, no other user can send you messages, either in the Roblox app or in the game, in addition to preventing the account from being found by its phone number. All these settings can be adjusted individually, as soon as the restrictions are activated. 

Blocking users: 

Blocking users is very simple: you must simply open the profile of the user you wish to block and click on the three dots on the top right corner where there is the username and friends information. A menu of options will appear on screen and among them there will be the option to “block user”. By selecting it, you block the user.  

How to block users within a game: 

There is also the option of blocking users inside the games. In the list in the top right corner of the game screen there is a list of players, select the profile you wish to block and a menu will be displayed on the screen. After that, choose the option: block user. It is also possible to report abuse directly in the same menu, by clicking on report abuse

It’s necessary to report abuse through this button when some user uses inappropriate language or addresses other players in a threatening or intimidating way. 

Activate settings through account PIN: 

Roblox offers kids parents another safety possibility: the creation of a PIN number associated with the guardian’s email address to block user settings. To activate it, you need to click on the gear icon on Roblox’s home page and then choose settings

After doing so, type the guardian’s email address and the kid’s account password in the corresponding fields. Then, click on add email. A confirmation email will be sent to the given email address. After the confirmation process is complete, you need to refresh the settings page to activate the PIN number. Then, to activate it, click on account PIN. Once it’s activated, every setup in the future will be activated only after the password is typed in. The settings are now blocked by the PIN number.

:: You can also read: The importance of make-believe, lies and imagination in childhood ::

How Roblox works 

Now that you already know how to keep your kids safe on Roblox, we are going to explain how the game works, so that you can talk to your kids and be a part of their online life as well. 

How does game creation happen on Roblox?

Before anything else you need to create an account on Roblox’s main page. After that, you will already have access to your main profile, where you can change your personal information, send and receive messages, change your profile picture and create your own games. 

Install Roblox Studio: 

To start creating games, you need to download the program Roblox Studio. This program is what makes it possible to create games with the available objects and map models, which later can be published in your profile within Roblox. 

Map choice: 

Once Roblox Studio is downloaded, in the creation start menu there are the map options, where it is also possible to choose a theme or gameplay map. Players who are new to the platform can choose the gameplay option, since the game’s visuals and rules will already be established. The gameplay mode offers seven available models: Racing, Obby, Line Runner, Infinite Runner, Capture The Flag, Team/FFA Arena and Combat. Some edits are allowed, such as changing objects, switching the background between day and night and customizing the avatar. In the lateral tab, located in the left part of the screen, there are buttons to create a new map or visualize already existing ones. 

How to change elements within the game:  

After selecting the game option, it is possible to change elements within the game, such as objects and the avatar, by clicking on the “toolbox”. At this stage, it’s possible to style the game according to how the player had pictured it. To do so, the user must enable the toolbox on the left part of the screen. With it, the player can add objects and choose where to place them. If you want to alter the object surface or add effects, you must simply click on “model”. 

Create games with an existing terrain: 

In the theme option, the user can create a game from already existing terrains, with the following available themes: Baseplate, Flat Terrain, Village, Castle, Suburban and Racing

By selecting this option, the elements of each terrain are filled automatically according to their own traits. Despite that, the elements can also be altered. 

Create a game from scratch: 

To those who have previous knowledge of game creation, Roblox Studio also offers the option to create a game from scratch. To do so, you should choose the base plate map, which is a blank map mode. After selecting this mode, the user can choose a terrain and, then, select the game’s objects, characters, visual and sound effects, and rules. This mode also allows the player to create gameplay mechanics with programming, especially HTML. There is the plugins tab, which offers a system to those familiar with programming and makes a more autonomous creation possible. 

Kids who have learnt or are learning programming and coding can benefit a lot from this Roblox mode. 

Test the created game: 

Testing the game created on Roblox Studio is an extremely important part of the creation process. In order to do that, click on the top of the Roblox Studio window and open the toolbar called testing and then play. Now it’s possible to walk with your character through the map, observing the game from a wider point of view. To leave player mode you need to simply click on stop. By doing so, the user will go back to editing mode. 

Evaluate the in-game experience, seek errors: 

Putting objects in non-strategic places – which hinder movement within the game – is one of the most frequent errors. That is why testing the game is extremely important, since that is the only way such errors can be fixed. 

Don’t forget to save the game: 

After following these steps, it’s time to save the game. And, similarly to other types of work that use programs, saving a copy is key. To do that, you need to click on file and then save.

Publish the game you created on Roblox:

Now that a copy has been saved, it’s time to publish the game. On the top menu, on the file tab, the user must click on the option “publish to Roblox”. The next screen will ask you to choose a genre for the game, whether it will be private or public, and other details such as the name and the devices it will be available to play. After that, you can simply click on create for the game to go online! 

Written by Débora Nazário

Translated by Mariana Gruber

EDITOR’S NOTE

Roblox is an amazing tool and it can be very beneficial for kids. We can start by considering it’s an active activity in which kids can create new things instead of only consuming content passively (of which watching a video is a good example). 

With Roblox, kids have access to games created by other users, which is an incentive for them to create their own games. The game creation process involves much more than programming. You need to think about the goal of the game, its format, characters, rules, all of its visuals, and, of course, in the technical aspects of it, which is programming in itself. All of this requires organization and focus. 

By building a simple game, kids develop many skills like planning, organization, and storytelling skills; and the ability to see a project from a broader point of view and, right afterward, move on to an activity in which they need to focus in only one aspect (we call this global and focal attention) – in addition to a lot of creativity. 

However, it’s a platform to which many people have simultaneous online access – and there’s a chat feature. All the games and platforms that have chats and kids using them must trigger a warning light on a parent’s mind. This is because ill-intentioned people can make contact with kids and try to take advantage of them somehow. 

Therefore, read about Roblox (and all the games and apps your kids have), understand how it works and keep yourself informed about parental controls in order to activate whatever is necessary to protect them within the platform. 

Teenagers, TikTok and Social Media: How Can Parents Help Them Find a Healthy Balance Between Limits and Fun

You have probably heard of TikTok, the social media network that keeps expanding and growing in popularity among people of all ages, but mainly among teenagers. That’s where all the famous dances started coming from – and it looks like they’re not going anywhere for a while, but instead will continue to get more and more popular. 

In early July, Fernanda Rocha Kanner posted a long text in her social media accounts speaking about her and her 14-year-old daughter Nina’s experience with TikTok. Fernanda decided to delete Nina’s TikTok account, which had garnered about 2 million followers, and her Instagram account.

In Fernanda’s post, she explains the reason behind this: she doesn’t want her daughter to go through her teenage years getting emotional over compliments or criticism from strangers. She also believes that that would hinder her daughter’s search for her own individuality.

The post went viral and a lot of people reacted both in favor or against Fernanda’s decision and stance. We thought this is an interesting theme to reflect on the social media use by teenagers. To what extent is it okay? Is the limit that obvious? Is taking TikTok away from the teenager worth it?

Maintaining a Dialogue, Balance, Rules and Clarity

We think everything should be discussed. After all, teenagers are their parents’ responsibility – and parents value their kid’s safety. Taking this into consideration, we think the best way forward is to sit with your kids and discuss boundaries and consequences. Teenagers may even cross these lines (they most likely will), but they will know they violated what was agreed upon together and they will have to deal with the consequences. 

Before making any decisions, it’s worth remembering that the childhood and the teenage years are stages in which we want to belong to a group, we want to be accepted and perceived, to show our worth and to feel valued. That is why teenagers like social media networks like TikTok so much – with all its likes, views and followers. All of this in excess can be harmful, but we believe every generation of teenagers had a “dangerous factor”, something that the adults worried about because they didn’t quite know it, or didn’t like it, or even didn’t understand it. 

Because of that, maintaining open communication is important. Okay, teenagers don’t like to talk to their parents. However, pushing a little when it comes to this subject is worth it – it makes it easier to notice when your kids might be needing help, in addition to showing them they have got their parents’ support. You see, it’s not a matter of convincing kids so they think like their parents. Instead, it’s about clarity and understanding the rules and what was agreed upon. 

It’s worth remembering:

The minimum permitted age to use TikTok in Brazil and the United States is 13 years old. Users younger than that may have an account but are not allowed to post any kind of content. Unfortunately, this rule is not very effective, since it is possible to create an account with a different age. Kids know this, of course, and create accounts on TikTok and other social networks with dates of birth that allow them to post content. 

Some Measures May Help Secure Teenagers’ Online Safety on TikTok and Other Social Networks

Change your kid’s profile to private: 

When we create an account on TikTok or another social network, we choose between two types of profile: public and private. A public profile allows anyone to view your content and you have no control over who is able to access them. In a private profile, only your friends and followers can see what you post. If someone wants to be your friend/follower, they need to request to do so and you need to accept. In other words, you have total control over the people who access your profile and your content, and you know exactly who sees what you post.

Having a private profile keeps random strangers from seeing what your teenager posts – and it keeps you from waking up and seeing your kid’s social media accounts have gained 2 millions followers overnight.  

Only add people your kid knows: 

Private profiles on TikTok and other social media apps allow only those who are friends or followers of the profile owner to view its content. Therefore, take it as a rule: only add people you already know. 

Talk about TikTok and Instagram exposure:

The internet is still a place full of judgment, including those body-related (regardless of body type). Caution your kids against posting intimate or sexy photos that expose too much of their bodies, even if that’s not their intention.

Other users may interpret their pictures in many ways and your kids, mostly girls, can become targets of slut-shaming (which is to be called a “slut” or other derogatory terms for violating certain socially-accepted clothing codes) or body shaming (another term in which the body is ridiculed and criticized by other people). 

Slut shaming is the act of humiliating, belittling or degrading someone, usually a woman, for their sex life, the way they dress, talks, or expresses themselves. An example of it is when a woman wears clothing considered short and hears complaints or negative comments about her appearance, her body and her behavior as a woman in society. 

Body shaming, on the other hand, is the act of controlling other people’s bodies, i.e. when someone is bullied for being considered too fat, too skinny, or as having too much cellulite, or breasts that are too big or small, etc. It’s bullying in the form of appearance pressures. Body shaming occurs more between girls than boys, but you need to always stay alert regardless.

Both of these types of bullying target teenagers’ bodies and can contribute to them developing perceptual distortions of their own bodies and even eating disorders.  

It’s also worth cautioning your kids against posting pictures of where they live, their school uniform, and other things that could identify the places they frequent and their routines. The same goes for personal information such as their IDs and social security numbers. 

Create a TikTok account and follow what your kids do online (remember to let them know that you are following them):

By doing so, you can be closer to what they post and to the people who follow them. They will most likely have a “Close Friends” group on Instagram without you, in order to post things they don’t want you to see, but that’s okay, isn’t it? We don’t want to share absolutely everything with everyone! 

See what teenagers are doing on social media:

Dive into this world and try to understand why your kids like it so much, including the TikTok dances – if they’re important to them. Show them you’re interested in what they like. You don’t have to force yourself to enjoy it, but show an interest in getting to know their world and, above all, in understanding that it has value to them. Many teenagers don’t want their parents to like what they do, but they feel at peace when they know their parents understand that it is important to them. 

Don’t reduce what they like or share: 

Saying that the TikTok dances (which are very popular in the app) are useless or passing any type of judgment over what teenagers do online creates a negative charge around them. Think about it: if they seek validation through this content, imagine how they feel when their parents say it is ridiculous or diminish it in any way. 

It’s easy for teenagers to think lowly of themselves when they hear their parents talk about the things they like in a derogatory way. For example: “TikTok dances are awful and I like TikTok dances. Therefore, I’m awful.” Of course that is not true, but it is easy to fall into this trap since it’s an age in which their identity is intricately connected to their behaviors and interests. Moreover, this drives parents away from their kids. If parents are constantly demeaning the things you like, why would you still share your interests, the things you do, etc. with them?

By taking the measures mentioned above, it won’t be necessary to make any drastic decisions such as deleting all your kids’ social media. 

But If Your Kids’ Social Media Accounts Grow to Much Bigger Proportions Than You Would Like, What Can You Do?

If this happens, deleting your kids’ social media accounts is an option, but bear in mind that they might not like this decision and may feel that you do not value something they worked hard to build. We believe that it is possible to try a few measures before doing something drastic: 

  • Change their profile to private and reduce posting frequency – or even go on a hiatus. Yes, the account will still have many followers, but it will keep it from getting new ones. And if less content is created and posted, the number of followers will decrease as well. 
  • If there is any content you think is dangerous, make it clear for your kids that they cannot post it anymore. It is also worth deleting this type of content that you consider risky. 

If you still decide to delete their social media accounts, allow them to say goodbye to their public. Many teenagers consider their followers their support network or even their friends. Help your kids write a post or record a video saying goodbye to their followers and informing them of what is going to happen. 

We know kids don’t want their parents around during their teenage years, and that’s okay. But it is important to monitor and look after them without suffocating or invading their privacy. That’s what we hope for – for everyone to be able to deal with this in a healthier way. 

:: Read Also: How Games and Video Games Develop Spatial Vision ::

Written by Luisa Scherer

Translated by Mariana Gruber

Balance with technology: how to find it?

Physical activities, limited screen and technology time and a good night sleep reduce impulsive behavior in children 

The article Association between 24-hour movement behaviour and impulsivity in American children, published in the American Academy of Pediatrics, showed that balancing physical exercise, limited screen time and a good night sleep can reduce the rates of impulsive behavior in children, as well as present other benefits.

Impulsive behaviours

Impulsive behaviors in children are reflections of anxiety: impatience, when the child interrupts other people, when the child talks, screams or laughs at inappropriate moments, or when they put themselves in hazardous situations without thinking. It’s worth remembering that these behaviors are normal and are part of  all children’s development, but it’s necessary to observe when they occur with exaggeration and too much frequency. Children who have these exaggerated impulsive behaviors are usually labeled as “troublemakers” at school or even at home. If you live together with a child who exhibits this type of behavior, avoid using labels of any kind. 

Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth

The study is based on the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth, a initiative of the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology that brings guidelines based on evidence with habits that highlight the integration of all movement behaviors that occur throughout an entire day. The guidelines encourage children and young people to “sweat, step, sleep and sit” in the quantity indicated and considered beneficial in the course of 24 hours. 

The guidelines were developed by the Healthy Active Living and Obesity Group (HALO) of the The Children’s Hospital of Eastern Ontario Research Institute, the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology (CSEP), ParticipACTION, The Conference Board of Canada, Public Health Agency of Canada and a group of researchers from the whole world, with the participation of over 700 Canadian and international participants. 

The guidelines of the Canadian 24-Hour Movement Guidelines for Children and Youth suggest that children between 5 and 17 years old should practice moderate to high physical activities for at least one hour a day; not exceed two hours a day of screens for recreational purposes; and sleep from 9 to 11 hours a night. 

How does the 24-hour movement Guidelines for Children and Youth interfere in children’s impulsive behavior? 

HALO researchers analyzed data of over 4,500 children. The data contained self reports categorized in 8 competences that characterize impulsive behavior or not. These competences evaluate patterns such as to leave a task unfinished or to act irrationally in the face of negative emotional states. 

The study showed that children who follow the three guideline recommendations scored positively on all competences and had higher positive scores in 5 out of the 8 competences in relation to children who didn’t follow the guidelines recommendations, concluding that the balance of the sleep, screen time and physical exercise triad can reduce disorders related to impulsiveness. 

Furthermore, the results suggest that children who follow the three guideline recommendations have better cognitive functions; less chances of developing obesity; better diet and better quality of life in relation to children who don’t follow any of the recommendations.  

Both the research itself and its results are quite significant, since the amount of children and data collected is relevant. It is difficult to find research projects with samples and database this big, and the results only prove the success of the research.