Times have changed since I was a kid. Sure games like Nintendo were a thing and we would all pile in to the neighbors house just to get a chance to play. That being said, it was a just a mindless game. There wasn’t a “network” we had to worry about. We couldn’t “connect” with other players across the world. This made things a lot less complicated. Parents didn’t have to worry about who their kid was chatting with. After all, the only way we knew how to chat was through a phone! As a mom of a son who has taken a large interest in the gaming world, we have to take things like online gaming a lot more serious than we used to. What is my viewpoint of Roblox, Minecraft and Fortnite and are they safe for kids?
Roblox, Minecraft and Fortnite are currently (this could change at any moment) the three most popular games as of today.
I can vouch for this because it’s all my eight year old son wants to play.
We even had a Fortnite birthday party for him recently!
When he started to gain interest in these games I knew I had a few different choices as far as parenting methods.
Number one; I could forbid him from playing. I decided quickly against this for one good reason. If I forbid him from playing that would just fuel the fire for him to go to a friends house and ask to play (where I can’t monitor him) or worse; lie about it. These games are so easily accessible that they can be downloaded on a tablet, “sneak away” and play somewhere else.
Number two; I could give him full access to the games and see what happens. Obviously, this is not the best solution. A lot parents do it though! If it keeps their kid busy for hours, then they think it’s ok! No, it’s not ok.
Number three; I could let him play with limits and parental controls. This seemed like the best solution. Everything is best in moderation right?
Personally, I like to be fully immersed in what my kids are doing. I like to know EXACTLY what’s going on with their interests. Is there a new game that kids are talking about at school?
“Let’s download it so I can put MY EYES on it and see for myself.” This is how I like to approach anything new or controversial with my kids.
Are Roblox, Minecraft and Fortnite Safe for kids?
Let’s break down the specifics of these games.
What every parent should know about Fortnite;
Fortnite is an interesting game. There is a free multiplayer mode called “Battle Royale” where 100 players skydive onto an island and fight each other. The purpose of this game is to be the last one standing by fighting the other players. Which, by the way, the other players are other people who are on the network playing with you. These are other real life people playing against you. This is the most popular type of game on Fortnite probably because it doesn’t cost anything to download.
This is where things get interesting.
There are a couple chat options where you can send messages to the other players while playing the game. My son says it’s a way to “strategize” and build relationships with the other players so you can build “teams” to win. Hmmmm. Also, if you have a headset, rather than typing messages you can talk into the game and everyone else playing can hear you! THIS IS ALARMING! As you can guess, there isn’t a “filter” or bleep button, so anything goes!
After a quick Fortnite lesson from my son, I decided I would let him play, but without the chat options.
Parents (especially to young kids) listen up!
As far as I can tell there is nothing wrong with Fortnite. It’s not incredibly violent and the game scenes aren’t bad (nothing bad for them to look at).
The issue of safety for Fortnite lies in the chat and Voice options.
We all know there are predators on the web, so this is where we can protect our kids with parental controls and turn off the “chat” option.
Now I can be at peace that my son can play the game without “connecting” to other players. He can still see the players, but there is no communication between them.
By the way, below is a gift card of V-Bucks. This is all my son asked for for his birthday this year. You can build up these “v-bucks” and earn different “skins” (clothes and accessories).
What every parent should know about Minecraft;
I think Minecraft is my favorite of these three games. Minecraft is like virtual legos. It allows you to create something (your world) out of nothing. You do this with Minecraft’s endless supply of “building blocks.”
Once you hit play, you are taken to a screen that allows you to either create a new world or log back into an old world that you’ve previously created.
Like with any game, there are also enemies. That being said, these “enemies” are almost comical. Like “creepers” who blow up when you get next to them.
The game will give you clues as to what is good and what is bad. You can see the message that popped up as the game was loading.
There is a way to play the game in creation mode where there are no enemies, no night or day, just building!
I think this game has gained so much attraction because it’s like an online canvas! The sky is the limit as far as creativity.
Sounds like a fantastic game, where is the problem?
Like the other games, there is also a chat option and the ability to interact and communicate with others.
Not everyone who plays this games plays fair. There is something called griefing where another player walks around and intentionally tears down the world you worked so hard to build.
My solution to this? You can play Minecraft in an offline mode without the chat option. This is what I allow my son to do.
What every parents should know about Roblox;
Roblox, like Minecraft, is another creative building platform. Unlike Minecraft where you build your own “world,” in Roblox you are creating your own game. You can also play other’s games.
You can see below what the platform looks like when you are logged in.
You can see the different games my son has downloaded. Each game has rankings, how many people are currently playing and how many people have visited.
The bad part about relying on anyone to create a game is that you don’t necessarily know what your going to get.
So far, I cannot find a setting that limits certain games you can download.
One thing you can limit, though, is the privacy settings for the chat option. Yep, this one has chat options and the ability to create “friends” too. You can see below where I have all of this turned off.
Let’s get down to the real question;
Are Roblox, Minecraft and Fortnite safe for kids to play?
As long as you take some parental measures to remove the ability to “connect” with strangers on the web, these games are totally safe in my opinion.
Even though these games have received bad safety reviews at times, if you break it down and take certain safety measures, they should be just fine!
I hope I’ve answered some questions and helped guide you to keeping your child safe from the harms of online gaming.