Warnings have been issued by parents about the popular online game Roblox after their children were sent explicit messages from adults.
Roblox is available as an app and online game via their website, and there is a chat and messaging system available to users that parents may not be aware of, and it's feared that it could be used by adults to 'groom' young children.
The Daily Mail reported that children as young as six have been sent explicit messages from adults, and worried parents have been deleting the app from their children's devices.
How to play safely:
There are certain things you can do to make the game more safe to play for your child. Make sure that the account is set so that your child's user profile is for an 'under 13 year old', so that any settings changes will need to be authorised by a parent via an email link sent to their account.
Chat mode is set to off by default on all profiles, with the 'Privacy Mode On' automatically set, but if chat has been turned on you can switch it back off via account settings. Click on "My Roblox", then "Account", then "Chat Settings" and choose the setting you want.
If you delete the app and your child has internet access they can still play on the website is they have an account set up, so you will need to check the settings on that too.
Statement from Roblox:
A spokesperson for Roblox said: 'There are several safeguards in place to protect our users that utilise current technology and human oversight. We have instituted a third-party software system created specifically to find offensive language and flag it. For users that are under the age of 13, these filters are set to block any sharing of personal identifiable information.
All accounts for users that are under the age of 13 are set to only communicate with friends. Only friends in the approved friend's list can personal message, invite another user into games, or to join a VIP server. If users or their parents are witnessing any bad behaviour in the game, we urge them to flag the 'abuse report' function in the game so that these participants can be handled by the Roblox team.'
My son plays this game via an app on my tablet, and as he's only seven we were very careful about setting up an account for him. It's set to an 'under 13' year old account, so there's no chat option, and he knows to ignore any friend requests that come through, though I will be checking later to make sure he hasn't accepted any by mistake.
If your child has this game and you are not sure of the settings it's wise to review them, as with any online game, to keep your child safe.