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They define their app as: Roblox is a global platform where millions of people gather together every day to imagine, create, and share experiences with each other in immersive, user-generated 3D worlds.
If you’re still unclear, picture going online and creating your own social environment. A school, a theme park, a neighborhood. In this environment, your made-up persona can be anything from a super-hero to a skateboarder. You can find a gazillion pros for this online imaginary play-place.
It’s remarkably popular with kids. In August of 2019, Roblox boasted over 1,000,000 users monthly.
So what are some of its dangers?
- Open environments to join--this means your child can tour imaginary worlds and be introduced to different users. Many of these users are complete strangers to your child.
- Real-time chatting--while exploring these worlds, characters can initiate chats. While many of these conversations can be innocent enough, reports online vary from bullying, to propositioning, to harassment. And, don’t underestimate the not as shocking but regular exposure to language, bad attitudes, disrespect, and other more standard dangers we tend to overlook.
- Strangers as friends--one surf through my seven-year-old son’s messages and I found several friend requests from complete strangers. Granted, he has been too “scared” to accept them, but they’re there. Whether the requestors are authentically 7-13 year old, or a 51 year old man/woman creeping on my kid, I’ll never know.
Should you remove the app from your child’s phone? Well, Roblox does offer privacy settings. This is helpful, but also not fool-proof.
For one, I can’t—at least to my knowledge—control these from my phone, and my son showed me how he knows to go into settings and reverse any controls I’ve already pre-set.
So, is your kid trustworthy enough to not do that? Does your kid have a healthy fear of strangers? Is your kid willing to ignore chats and conversations between characters? That is something only you can answer as a parent.
They define their app as: Snapchat lets you easily talk with friends, view Live Stories from around the world, and explore news in Discover. Life's more fun when you live in the moment!
Basically put, imagine snapping a photo, sending it to your mom to view, she looks at it, and after a short period of time, it disappears into cyberspace never to be seen again.
Fun? Yes. My sister-in-law and I Snapchat regularly. Silly pictures from what our morning coffee mug looks like, to pictures of our feet in fuzzy socks. Snapchat can be a super fun app and it’s no wonder it’s popular with kids who are visually stimulated.
So what are some of the dangers?
- It’s easy to sext. What’s that? Well, it has the word “sex” in it, so it can run the gamut from partial nudity to imagery of the actual act. As a parent, it’s super hard to monitor. There are some apps that claim to help you do so, but I’ve not tried them, and one wonders if they truly do give you full monitoring power.
- It’s easy to hide. If your child has—once again—friended or followed someone on Snapchat they don’t know—or do know—it’s super easy to hide their conversations from you, because they simply disappear. There’s no history to go back and read in Snapchat. So, if someone is sending your kids nudes, or pictures holding a poster board with the word “Die” on it, odds are, you’ll never know.
My kids won’t have Snapchat for a long time. It’s not worth it. And I haven’t even mentioned the “Newsfeed” which is public news filled with soft porn, profanities, and other such fun stuff.
Photo Credit: ©Unsplash/Hal Gatewood