Roblox and Minecraft are both sandbox style games that allow players to be highly creative in imaginary worlds. But which one is safer for kids?
Written by Cyber Expert:
Roblox and Minecraft are both sandbox style games that allow players to be highly creative in imaginary worlds. These games have become incredibly popular with kids because they are easy to play and allow players the freedom to create while socialising with others. Users can build anything they desire in Minecraft and create any game that they wish to play in Roblox. Both games have a multiplayer function that allows users to chat with one another while they are playing the game. As with all online chat platforms, there can be some safety risks for kids when engaging with these games.
Roblox is an interactive gaming platform consisting of hundreds of different games that users can choose from to play. Experienced users interested in game and app development may elect to create their own games and generate their own worlds within the Roblox community, but most players will generally choose to build small things within an existing game, such as houses or character outfits. Once on the platform, users can interact with other players through the chat function; however, this feature can be switched off and other users blocked with the game's built-in parental controls. Roblox users can either create their own private game or join a public game created by other users. Parents should be aware that Roblox has its own currency called Robux, purchased with real money. Players who have created games on the platform can charge Robux for entry into their game. Additionally, a number of third-party sites sell in-game items for exorbitant prices.
Minecraft is the best-selling video game of all time. Users are able to download a free trial of the game but ultimately the game is not free. Minecraft is an open-ended game where players create buildings around themselves using materials from the environment - at the most basic level, Minecraft is a world made from blocks where users aim to create or survive. If users choose to play in survival mode they are challenged to survive by building shelter, finding food and avoiding mobs (which are non-player monsters in the game). In creative mode players are given all of the resources they desire to create buildings, one block at a time. Similarly to Roblox, Minecraft allows users to play for hours on end. Players can create anything that they desire on Minecraft so sometimes this may lead to kids coming across some adult content when they are discovering new worlds. Parents should be mindful of this, along with the notion of "griefing", which involves other players destroying structures that another person has made - it can be very disheartening for young users to see all of their hard work destroyed.
Both games utilize a chat function, allowing players to interact with others within the game. Of the two, Minecraft tends to lean towards autonomous play, while Roblox is notably more social. Additionally, Roblox has a vast amount of user-generated content, which means that children are more likely to be exposed to strong language and adult themes. While Roblox creators have built-in child protection measures such as human moderators and automatic curse word filters, players can easily find a way around this through a quick Google search, providing simple instructions on circumventing the built-in chat filter. Roblox has developed a Parent Safety Guide, which clearly outlines how to set up all the safety features available within the platform. The creators recommend parents consider reading this guide before their child begins playing the game.
All games with a multiplayer chat function carry an online safety risk, and Minecraft and Roblox have both reported incidents of inappropriate content for children. Roblox has responded to this by utilizing human moderators and chat filters, and players can also block other users and report bad behavior.
For the most part, Minecraft users play autonomously within their game, focussing on building their own worlds. If they do interact with other players, it's usually in a small group situation. Although Minecraft doesn't have the under 13 'safe chat' mode of Roblox or the ability for parents to log in to and monitor their child's game, it has functions that allow muting, blocking, and reporting other players for poor behavior. Users can also set special permissions that allow only known friends to enter their world and to govern the actions other players can take within their game, such as inhibiting the ability to destroy structures. This helps address the issue of 'griefing'.
Please follow these links for full details of the parent controls available for each game:
Clothing detection, reporting function, chat filters and more
How to configure the parental controls for Minecraft
The creators of both Minecraft and Roblox have been diligent in addressing child safety, and have included a vast amount of child safety features that are available to be activated in each gaming platform. Parents should ensure that the safety features around chatting and interacting with strangers are enabled on their child’s account. Despite all of the safety features on Roblox, Minecraft has to be considered safer for kids purely because parents know what their child is playing. Roblox has so much user generated content that it is more likely that your child will come across a game that is not age-appropriate if they are left to explore. That being said, you can set boundaries with your child, to only play Roblox and Minecraft with people that they know, which makes both games safe and fun for kids to enjoy.
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