The holidays are upon us, and it’s likely that your kids and teens will be spending more time online and on Roblox with their friends. We’ve added some new tools to our platform to help parents and caregivers customize the Roblox experience to fit the needs of their families. Here are some tips to help your kids have fun while staying safe on Roblox and online in general.
1. Ask questions. It is important to start a conversation with your kids about what they do online. While that may not always be easy to do, especially if you have reticent teenagers, it’s never too late to start. If you are unsure about how to approach the topic with your kids, start by taking a genuine interest in what it is they enjoy most about their online lives. Ask them about what they find most positive about the time they spend gaming, rather than framing it in a negative light. A recent study commissioned by Roblox, in which a group of teenagers were interviewed about their online experiences, found that some teens feel their parents don’t appreciate or understand the benefits of gaming and socializing online and are frustrated when the internet is painted primarily as a danger. Teenagers are more likely to open up if they can see that you are trying to understand their perspective rather than lead with your own.
2. Spend time this holiday to share in their experience. The best way to understand why your teens love spending time gaming is to do it with them. The holiday period, when you may have the rare fortune to spend time as a family, can be used as an opportunity to play together. Instead of blowing the dust off the board games, why not give your kids the option of picking what games you play together this holiday, even if it is an experience online? For example, on Roblox, you can join your kids in the same game at the same time, and share that experience together. It is a great way to bond with your kids and helps build trust and understanding so that you can approach conversations about their safety online more openly.
3. Set controls that work for your family. Most parents know they need to put controls in place for their kids, but many don’t know where to start. The holidays present a great opportunity for you to spend time familiarizing yourself with the controls on the platforms your kids and teens use. If they have received new devices or consoles as gifts, you can set controls as part of setting up the system for the first time. Most online platforms have guides to help parents set appropriate controls. Just remember that, as your kids’ get older and gain more experience online, they will become savvier and want more freedom. When kids are little, we as parents instinctively keep a closer watch on them e.g. holding their hand on the steps of a slide. As kids want to be able to do this themselves without your help. You still watch them but from more of a distance and with less direct support, so they have more freedom, more confidence, but also more risk. It is an important part of growing up for any child and as parents, we instinctively know this. Navigating the right time to step back as a parent is true online too. The more engaged you are in the games they play or the social interactions they have online, the more confident you can feel in setting limits that are appropriate as they age.
4. Set boundaries together. Teens are often savvier about how to navigate interactions and experiences online than, as their parents, we might think. This is especially true when it comes to making social connections and building new friendships. Research commissioned by Roblox has found that young people place a high value on authenticity when they are online, both in how they think about what is acceptable in their own behavior as well as those they meet and interact with online. For example, teens who took part in the study said they were aware that other people they met online might not be who they said they were, and because of this, they knew to approach every new connection they made with a degree of caution. Of course, every kid and teenager is different, so the best way to understand how savvy your kids are online is to ask them how they would handle certain scenarios. This will help you gauge their level of understanding about the internet and will make it easier for you to establish and agree on the right boundaries or parental controls that work best for your family. It can also create space for you to ask how they would like you to support them if something happened to them online. This helps build resilience and equips young people with digital management skills they can use when they need them most.
5. Encourage their creativity. Teenagers see the internet as more than just a platform to consume content, it is where they can explore their creativity, too. Young people who took part in our study said they take great pride in what they create online, but feel frustrated when their parents don’t recognize the positive value of those experiences. At the same time, your kids might feel nervous about sharing what they have created with other people for fear of rejection. If you take an interest in what your kids create online and offer them positive reinforcement, it can go a long way to building up their self-confidence and their desire to share what they have made with their friendship groups. The holidays are a perfect time to get involved and show support, hopefully they might create something really special.
We hope these tips will help you and your family have a fun, positive, and safe time online this holiday season. Learn more about building a safe digital world for your kids and teens on Roblox on our Parents Page.