Hello again! It’s Laura, Director of Community Safety and Digital Civility at Roblox! Yesterday, I brought you a blog on Roblox Safety, and now I’m back to talk more about online safety for kids—only this time, offering general suggestions to utilize on and off the Roblox platform.
With both posts, my goal is to provide some helpful advice about Roblox and, more generally, keep your family safe online.
So, let’s jump in!
When it comes to keeping kids safe online, we believe it takes a collaborative approach, requiring us to shoulder the responsibility with other platforms, families, educators, and the players themselves.
We should ALL aim to share best practices, to model what “good” behavior looks like, and ensure we make it as easy as possible for young people to recognize and report anything that worries them.
And to reiterate, safety doesn’t just apply on Roblox, of course. The same advice applies across all online platforms.
Here are the tips!
Online Safety Tips
1. Use strong passwords
Many people are still guilty of using default passwords or really simple combinations. In fact, according to the National Cyber Security Centre, the most popular passwords of 2019 are:
Now, that should be a worry! Hopefully nothing here looks familiar!
If one of these passwords does look like it could belong to you or your kids, change it! Be inventive when doing so. Hackers will guess your surname, child’s name, or birthdate.
Why not try something linked to your hobbies or a book you like? A combination of uppercase and lowercase letters, numbers, and symbols is always good (and often required by websites).
Think of your password like your toothbrush; don’t share it with anyone and change it regularly!
2. Don’t share personal information
This seems obvious, but sadly, when most people say they’ve been hacked, they have usually shared information about themselves online by accident. And really, kids might not know better depending on the situation.
At the very least you may get inundated with spam and nuisance calls, or more problematic, phishing attempts or actual fraud.
We don’t want anyone—especially young people— sharing any personally identifiable information, so keep school logos out of photographs on Facebook and don’t share Snapchat names online.
If the site your child is using asks for information, please have them run the scenario by you, and then consider carefully whether you want to share such info. No one online really needs to know your home address or bank account details.
3. Think about device safety
If someone stole a cell phone from your child, what would they find on it? Pictures of you and your family, their social media accounts (it’s very easy to reset passwords on these), an online banking app?
Maybe it’s time to consider setting a PIN or using the face recognition or fingerprint scan that’s pre-installed on most mobile devices now. You can also use tracking apps should the worst happen; you may well get the device back!
4. Choose your friends carefully
This applies on and offline, but it does pay to think before you accept that friend request.
Have a talk with your child about the people asking them to be friends online. Do you know the person? Why are they adding them?
Some of the games they play might encourage meeting new people, which is okay in a safe environment—they might even end up becoming good friends! But if such friends ask them to go off the app and chat elsewhere, it could be risky.
Reiterate that your kids don’t actually know these people, after all. And, even if they get a request from someone they thought they were already friends with, ensure they double-check before accepting their request.
For instance, if it’s someone they can text or call to chat with, have them do so rather than solely conversing through an app or online platform. It could be someone impersonating their friend, or the friend may have been hacked; you never know. This technique is often used as a way to spread nasty viruses too.
5. Consider the apps you and your family use
Online activities in our free time are meant to be enjoyable. If they’re not, maybe ask why? Kids will often want to join the popular apps that their peers use, even when they may not be age appropriate. Unfortunately, they may not be ready for some of the content, language, or behavior they might encounter in different online spaces.
This is a great opportunity to talk with your kids about what they like doing online and helping choose what’s right for them. For you, the parent, just be mindful of unrated apps and games—especially if they are just links online. Use credible apps that are directly downloaded from the App Store or Google Play store to make sure they aren’t full of nasties!
6. Spend time reading the small print and safety sections
We are all guilty of blowing past the fine print. But, make it a habit to take the time and read the terms and conditions before you tick that “OK” box.
Are you happy with your information being shared with third parties? Is the app allowed to post your photographs elsewhere without your permission? Also, check out the rules and how to report anything that doesn’t seem right, and help your kids do the same.
7. Talk together about what to do if something worries them; keep that door open!
Show and encourage your kids to use the tools on the platforms they use, and make sure they know they can talk to you if something seems amiss. If they trust that you will help them and not get upset, they are far more likely to come to you if they need you.
With all of this, our goal is to help bring up a generation of kind, tech savvy, and confident internet users who can use their imaginations to create incredible experiences and connect positively with others . Thank you for your help!