Roblox is a favorite among kids, perhaps even yours, and it has a lot of parents asking, "What IS this?!"
Jeff Haynes, the Senior Editor of Video Games at Common Sense Media explains, "Well, Roblox is really, it's an online platform in many ways. A lot of people will look at it as a game but, it really is more of a platform that has a ton of games on it."
The games are built by players themselves becoming something of a space for imagination to come alive.
Haynes says, "It's really unique in that space, because it's kind of a merging of a lot of different formats... it's a social media platform... it's a gaming platform.... it's a creativity platform. It's all of the above."
It's also a platform that's birthing a profession of young game developers, who are making money from the experience.
"Which is a really nice way of not only giving them kind of a experience and something that they love, but potentially a career path further down the line", Haynes adds.
Laura Higgins, the Director of Community Safety and Digital Civility at Roblox, mentioned that the platform currently has "about 32.6 million players."
Higgins believes, the 'social distance' of a pandemic has just made Roblox even more popular.
"We've all been experiencing an unprecedented event. You know, it's been a really hard time for everybody, particularly young people. We can't spend time together the way they normally would," she explains.
So, what age is appropriate for Roblox?
Roblox says ages 7 and older.
But Common Sense Media explains why they recently raised the suggested age to 13.
"The unsavory content, some of the bullying, some of the other inappropriate sexual content and grooming issues that just keep popping up from time to time. So we raised it, just to be careful and cautious and also to alert parents," Haynes told me.
He advises locking down the privacy settings, knowing who your kids are chatting with, and to not be afraid to report an issue.
Roblox says they take reports seriously.
"We obviously have in-game reporting. We have about 2,300 moderators around the world now working 24/7 in different languages, to provide support for reporting," Higgins said.
Haynes advises, "I think the biggest thing, especially for parents that are kind of wondering about whether or not they should let their kids play Roblox is basically sit down with them, and experience basically what their kids are seeing themselves."
He suggests keeping a dialogue with your kids about which parts of the platform interest them.
Because kids can spend money within the app, through something called Robux, it is recommended to set a pin to keep your kids from unintended spending.
Have more questions? Common Sense Media has a full guide for parents, which can be found here.