Concerns regarding the popular gaming platform called Roblox have prompted both Kingston Police and the Canadian Centre for Child Protection to alert parents about the platform’s chat feature.
According to Kingston Police, Roblox is “a user-generated gaming environment where children are encouraged to create adventures using their avatar, play games, and connect with friends in this multiplayer environment that claims to have over 44 million active users.
The Canadian Centre for Child Protection’s Cybertip.ca platform has received reports regarding requests to meet up in person, and/or sexually suggestive chat messages being sent to children under the age of 12 within Roblox.
“It is important for parents to be on alert with any app or website that offers direct messaging chat features,” Kingston Police said in a press release on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019.
Police say that children can easily be exposed to inappropriate conversations or redirected to inappropriate content on other sites via the chat feature. Police suggest that parents explore apps and games themselves prior to allowing their child to start using it.
The following are questions Kingston Police suggests parents investigate:
- Is there an interactive (chat) component in the game?
- Is this an optional feature that can be turned off?
- Are there other optional features that can be turned off to improve safety?
- Does the game allow for an easy way to report inappropriate activity?
- Does an online search of the app or game find media articles that involve child safety-related concerns?
Additionally, Kingston Police want to remind parents that it is important to teach children to:
- Check with parents/guardians before using new apps/games or sharing any information online. For children under 12, online interactions should always be supervised by a parent or safe adult.
- Not to respond or click on messages or links from someone they don’t know.
- Tell a parent/guardian if they come across something or someone while playing online games that makes them feel uncomfortable. Remind them that they can tell a trusted adult without fear of getting in trouble.
- Ask permission before ever accepting a request from another game to move over to a video chatting site or other chat platform.