Is Roblox educational?

Here’s what parents need to know about the popular social media network.

Prisma Staff
• 
December 9, 2022

An online, immersive gaming platform with over 50 million users worldwide, Roblox is available for PC, mac, mobile devices and XBOX. Roblox — like Minecraft — uses a sandbox concept in designing its games: games are more experiential than goal-oriented, so they lend themselves to social interactions. Users create a personal avatar, move around virtual worlds, chat with strangers and friends, and buy and sell things with a currency known as ‘robux.’

But unlike Minecraft, Roblox is not the game. It’s the platform. That means users have access to over 40 million video games — created by other users like themselves for Roblox — games that could be low or high-quality, harmless or explicit, educational or mind-numbing.

Popular games include, “Adopt Me,” where players walk around different rooms as they try to get the latest and greatest pet. In “Work at a Pizza Place” — as the name suggests — users get to buy and sell pies, working at the counter, as a chef or delivery person. Many of these games offer in-app purchases, which means your playing experience will be limited if you don’t spend robux to get the fancier features.

Like all social platforms with user-generated content, Roblox is incredibly open-ended, which makes it hard to answer, “Is Roblox educational?” with a straight yes or no: While it could be a place to have educational experiences and healthy social interactions, left unattended it’s just as easy for a kid to use it to play mindless video games and stumble on adult content. There are parental controls, as we discuss below, but if you want to be sure your child is using Roblox as an educational program, you’ll have to stay fairly involved - or access it through one of the educational organizations that is partnering with the platform.

How does Roblox work?

When users create an account in Roblox, they customize an avatar (that looks like a LEGO minifigure). They can choose to visit a variety of worlds, play thousands of games, and engage in immersive experiences — anything that is a part of the ever-growing, user-created library, currently 40 million items and growing.

Although Roblox is free to install, upgrades — like special avatars — are available to purchase individually or through a subscription option that ranges from $5 to $20 per month. When users create their own Roblox games, they also have the option to monetize them and earn robux from others.

How is Roblox Educational?

Promoted as a fun way to learn coding, Roblox offers a building tool, Roblox Studio, where users learn to code in Lua, Roblox’s programming language. In this learning environment, programmers from novice to advanced can learn game design as they create and test their experiences before taking them live.

Recently, Roblox has committed to developing the educational aspect, turning its eye — as with Minecraft — towards the world of game-based learning.

Some of its initiatives include:

  • Offering resources - including training modules - for educators who want to incorporate the game into their lesson plans.
  • Partnering with organizations including ID tech (offers coding camps and classes), the Boston Museum of Science, and the educational game developer, Filament Games.
  • Creating the Roblox Community fund, directed by the platform’s Head of Education, Rebecca Kantar, to promote access to STEM curricula.

So, when faced with a child, extending their iPad and pleading, “Can I play Roblox?” any number of things could happen if you say yes: they could get a crash course in computer science or they could spend the afternoon chatting with strangers in the metaverse while being tempted to buy the latest pet through in-game purchases.

Is Roblox safe for kids?

There is no minimum age to make a Roblox account. Although certain features — such as voice chat — are not available until age 13, a savvy kid could figure out how to bypass this requirement.

As with all open-ended platforms, kids who use Roblox could encounter adult content, end up chatting with strangers, or attempt to make purchases — issues that are addressed with parental controls.

While these controls can help parents keep kids away from explicit virtual worlds, it won’t necessarily help ensure that all the games they choose are high quality, let alone educational. It also won’t guarantee that kids won’t experience cyberbullying in one of the worlds they’re exploring.

What programs do we recommend?

When designing learning experiences at Prisma, we are “education-first” in our choice of games. That means our 4-8th grade and high school curriculum incorporates learning games, such as those listed below, rather than “fun-first” games such as Minecraft and Roblox. (Although we do offer learners the opportunity to use Minecraft for showcasing their learning as well as for extra-curricular hangouts with fellow Prismarians).


Education-first games that are popular with the whole Prisma community (educators, parents and learners alike!) include:

Recommended coding programs include:

Recommended 3D modeling tools include:

Bottom line: Is Roblox Educational?

Roblox can absolutely be used as an educational tool. For kids who are reluctant to learn coding but already love Roblox, Roblox Studio can be a great way to get them to give it a try. The allure of monetization can be a powerful motivator for business-minded kids, who appreciate the opportunity (however minuscule) to get paid for their work. However, this comes with an equally powerful downside: It’s truly difficult to make real money on Roblox, and researchers have raised concerns about the potential for exploitation of kids who don’t understand the reality of the proposition.

Roblox is making a concerted effort to position itself as an educational tool. However, with all the potential distractions, you’ll have to carefully monitor your children’s usage in order to make sure they are using Roblox in the way you’re hoping (or consider using it through a reputable organization that incorporates it into their curriculum).

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