What is Roblox?
“Roblox markets itself as a fun online world for kids to interact. Players are given the opportunity to create an avatar (player) for themselves and a small amount of digital money to rent a house. Money to furnish and decorate the house requires real world money, with costs adding up fast. A variety of different outfits are also available to purchase which is a huge draw card for many young children who want to make their avatar look as cool as possible. Players who don’t spend real money on upgrades to their game are repeatedly mocked by other players, which eventually bullies them into spending money.”
Why is it such a risk to children?
“Additional purchases are not the biggest issue with this game however, the social interaction amongst players is. The purpose of the game is for players to interact and make friends with one and other. This is achieved by wandering around the online world and stopping to talk with other players. The discussions take place within an unmoderated chat feature. Like any online multiplayer game, there is little to no control over the types of people or age limits of those playing the game. This means that your children are susceptible to being groomed by online predators.
Unfortunately, within the online gaming world, where there are games marketed to children, there will be online predators looking for an easy avenue to make contact with children. Games like this are often used as a platform to lure children away from the game and onto other more dangerous and invasive platforms such as Facebook, Snapchat and even in some cases Skype. This is the most dangerous aspect of Roblox. The game is most appealing to younger children, under the age of 12 and therefore a very easy targeting zone for predators. Children of this age are an easy target as they lack the ability to comprehend when another player is making inappropriate requests of them.
The game allows players to invite each other into their online bedrooms and to engage in sexualised behaviour. Whilst this is all very superficial and no “simulated” sex acts can be depicted within the game; the insinuation is there. More advanced players, are able to create their own online worlds for other players to enter which often means that pornographic content can also be uploaded for children to see. The game is not safe for children under the age of 12 and even then, Family Zone does not recommend any children play the game” (from Family Zone)
Read the full article here: https://www.familyzone.com/blog/roblox-parents-review (Family Zone)
Further articles about Roblox for parents:
https://www.saferinternet.org.uk/blog/roblox-guide-parents (Safer Internet UK)
https://www.commonsensemedia.org/website-reviews/roblox (Common Sense Media)
“Lisa Hardstaff, credit information expert with Equifax(link is external), offers advice on how parents can teach their children about looking after their personal information online.
Smartphones, tablets and laptops are now just part of everyday life for most children and teens, putting a wealth of information and entertainment at their fingertips. But the hard part for parents is making sure their kids are safe online, especially as today’s tech savvy youngsters can sometimes leave mum and dad feeling out of their depth. ”
Full Article: http://parentinfo.org/article/helping-your-child-stay-safe-from-cybercrime
(From Parent Info)
Safer Internet Day (SID) is on Tuesday 7th February 2017
The theme for this year is ‘Be the change: Unite for a better internet’.
The focus is The Power of Images
Please go to following site for more information:
Key Stage 1
Children looked at what to do if they found scary images or videos on the internet by following a story about Smartie Penguin.
There are lots of different types of pictures or videos online, and lots of ways to look at them.
We looked at what sites they would use to watch their favourite show online, or to search for photos
of their favourite band or singer.
Mrs Sadler introduced the children to Smartie. Smartie is just like all of us, he
loves going online, and playing games and looking for pictures. Sometimes, Smartie is not
always sure what to do if something happens online that worries or upsets him. We read the story to help Smartie make some good choices online?
Key Stage 2
Children explored how photos shared online can potentially stay there forever and may reach a wider audience than they intended. They will consider how photos create an impression of their character and personality (online reputation) and will use this knowledge to develop a strategy to help them decide if a photo/image is okay to share online or not. These included images Mrs Sadler brought in an old photo album of herself and images children have shared online.
Musical.ly and Live.ly APPS Warning
These APPS are rated Age 13+ but are rated Age 16/17+ by Common Sense Media
We need to warn parents about video chat phone app Live.ly, after a man performs sexual act in front of primary school pupils in Leeds.
A notice to parents explained: “While the app is only supposed to access contacts on the user’s phone, it appears that quite quickly, friends of friends of friends are able to join the group chat whom your child does not know at all. “It is therefore an unsafe app for children to use, as it risks either an incident such as happened yesterday, or opportunities for your child to be groomed online and therefore at risk of sexual exploitation.”
Read more at:
Warnings about Live.ly from Common Sense Media
“As with all live-streaming services, this one carries all the risks of broadcasting and viewing iffy content, and its one nod to safety is to warn its users not to give out personal information as each stream opens. It’s an app entering a crowded market, but it seems to have legs because of its affiliation with musical.ly. As with all the others, kids much younger than 13 broadcast regularly, and most streams feature bored kids in their homes either on their phones, eating, goofing around with friends, or just responding to comments. During the time of review, no one was showcasing a talent or doing more than minimally interacting with viewers, though one had kids responding to dares posed by commenters. Yet, each stream seemed to have a substantial audience from 60 to 300 people. The main draw seems to be the immediate connection, real-time feedback, and followers/likes. Kids also give out their Snapchat handles and phone numbers to viewers, so strangers often get another means to connect with the broadcaster. Though the streams themselves seem mostly innocuous, live streaming poses real risks for kids in terms of privacy and safety, and it’s also a way to connect with people whom some families might not want connecting with their kids.” (Taken from Common Sense Media)
Remember, whatever you post online can NEVER be fully removed!
Think U Know from The Child Exploitation and Online Protection Centre (CEOP) have produced a new three part animation for 8-10 year olds. The films help them to learn how to “spot pressuring and manipulative behaviour online and to stay safe from other risks they might encounter online.” (CEOP)
“Play Like Share follows the adventures of Sam, Ellie and Alfie as they form a band and enter their school’s Battle of the Bands contest, taking on the mean but ‘cool’ Popcorn Wizards as they go. The three friends learn that while the internet can help, they need to use it wisely and safely.
The aim of the films is to help 8-10 year olds learn how to stay safe online. In particular, the films teach them to spot the early signs of manipulative, pressurising and threatening behaviour by people they might meet online, and develops their confidence to respond safely and get help.”
The links for further information and to the CEOP You Tube Channel where the three films can be accessed are below. Please take a look at these films to support your child at home. Keeping your child safe online is a partnership between school and home.
An interactive tool to help you set up parental controls across all the devices your children use.