Online gaming giant Roblox has launched an online safety curriculum to help children use the platform more safely
Roblox has launched an online safety curriculum in an effort to help educate parents and children about the various dangers that exist online. Titled Digital Civility the curriculum consists of up to 20 hours of content and includes a bespoke game, Digital Safety Scavenger Hunt. By completing the course, Roblox is hoping students will develop a better understanding of how to report bad behaviour, how to keep personal information private, how to play in a positive and friendly manner and how to identify cyber-bullying.
Roblox has over 160 million registered users and over 2 million designers. It is an open world game in which users can play, chat and trade virtual objects. Its growth and popularity have been exponential. Despite its success as a gaming platform, it has received its fair share of negative press due to growing online safety concerns. Just this week a 48 year old man, Clinton McElroy, from Ellis, Kansas, US was convicted for using the platform to extort an eight year old girl into sharing inappropriate images. Besides the presence of paedophiles on the platform, there are also reports that the platform is promoting screen addiction and adversely impacting relationships.
Within the platform users can purchase and trade items using a virtual currency called Robux. A recent study by RoosterMoney has identified that children are spending more money on Roblox and Fortnite than candy and books. This was determined by surveying 40,000 children in the US during the lockdown period. However, this can partly be attributed to the fact that shops and malls were closed during this period and the trend may reverse post lockdown.
“ We’ve been hearing from our educator community that it’s simply not enough to have occasional conversations about safety and digital civility and that they’d greatly benefit from a structured curriculum and project-based learning as the new school year begins and kids are spending more and more time learning and interacting with one another online…The curriculum launching today is designed to provide both educators and students with a self-paced, topic-specific narrative that will help build a generation of resilient digital citizens and ensure kids and teens have positive and safe online experiences…” Laura Higgins, Director of Community Safety and Digital Civility, Roblox