YES, YOU READ THAT RIGHT!
Roblox has turned a blind eye to our kids gambling online!
Well just when we thought we had heard it all, along comes Roblox gambling! Yes, Roblox’s digital currency, known as Robux, can now be cashed in by our children on online casino platforms, allowing our children to experience the double whammy of gaming and gambling! That is HUGE. As if gaming on its own isn’t hard enough to manage, gambling at the tender age of ten is now possible. And two brave moms have taken Roblox on, filing a lawsuit in California in the hope of stopping this in its tracks.
In the interim, Roblox is alleged to have earned tens of millions of dollars in commission fees by turning a blind eye. The online gambling games (think blackjack, slots, roulette and other games of chance) use Roblox’s in-game currency, Robux. This makes it all that much easier for our kids to gamble: Robux are purchased with real world currency so they are being wagered and often lost by underage gamblers (your kids and ours). Even though the online casinos operate off site from Roblox itself (as third-party sites), they are using Robux as gambling chips, which makes our kids keep coming back for more and more!
What, of course, is most scary about this is the way in which it will set up our children to experience not just the chemical highs and lows attached to gaming (and of course the addiction that comes with that), but now they will also experience the reward rush (and inevitable emotional plumet) that is associated with gambling. The average Roblox gamer is nine years old! Need we say more.
So what must I do?
- Step away from the Xbox: Initiate a conversation with your t(w)een away from the Xbox where they feel comfortable expressing their thoughts and emotions –think casual walk while looking for a new swimming cozi at Woolies.
- Make sure when your child does use Roblox, the parental controls are activated – Download our Ultimate Parents Guide to Roblox for everything toy need to know to make sure they are safe on Roblox.
What must I say?
- Start with the good stuff: Begin the conversation by acknowledging their love for Roblox. Ask them what they love about it, which part excites them, how it feels when they get it right. Let them know that you understand the excitement and pleasure they derive from it.
- Share the deets: Explain that you have become aware that Robux (they’ll be impressed that you know the currency) can now be used for gambling away from the platform on other online sites. Ask them if they knew that. Explain that gambling is addictive and very much something that even adults find hard to manage.
- Explain the science: Help your child understand the role of how reward in our brain system – that when we win, we feel a huge chemical rush – a good one – in the form of dopamine rushing through our bodies. But also we have to explain that gambling (and gaming) can trigger the release of a stress chemical called cortisol when we lose. The ups and downs of these two chemicals really impact our mood and makes us want to rectify the one with the other ALL THE TIME. This is the way that gambling takes a hold and we can become addicted. Speak to the fact that you know they would not want someone or something else controlling their behaviour and this is no different.
- Gambling is a verboten: Make it clear that gambling is an adult activity and that you may allow gaming (with the parameters you have put in place) but, even though you trust them, you can’t allow them to gamble because of how addictive it is and how hard it is to control.
- Reward the truth bomb! Find a way for your child to tell you they found an online casino that Robux directed them towards, maybe even let them use a code word that only you and him know. Assure them you won’t do battle with them when they show you (and then you have to prove it). Reward them with words of affirmation or a special outing that says ‘thank you for trusting me with this’. Remember every action in respect of their devices is an attempt to ensure that the communication channels are OPEN – in this way, when serious mishaps happen (online predators, sextortion etc) they will trust that they can come to you FIRST!
Sarah and Pam