National Video Game Day 2024 - Roblox

July 8, 2024

On July 8, 2024 the United States celebrates National Video Game Day. To celebrate, FOSI asked its video game member companies about all things online safety and video games. Laura Higgins, the Senior Director of Community Safety & Civility at Roblox, had the following advice to share.

What is your #1 piece of online safety advice for parents of young gamers? 

Don’t be afraid to be a parent. You are still their source of safety and guidance, even if you feel out of your depth. Having regular conversations about their online lives, exactly as you would about other topics is really important, and you’ll be surprised how engaged they will be! This isn’t about stopping them having fun, it’s about equipping them with skills and resilience online as you would offline. You don’t need to be a gaming expert, helping them set boundaries which work for the whole family is always good, if they are invested in setting rules that they feel are important they are more likely to stick to them. And you should too, role modeling is important here, put that cell phone down when it’s family time!

As a video game company, how do you strive to prioritize online safety?

Safety is Roblox’s no.1 priority and always has been. We have a multi-tiered approach to safety, using a mix of human moderators and AI and Machine learning, and review all content before it is uploaded to the platform. We work with online safety and wellbeing experts across the globe as well as co-creating evidence based resources to help empower and build resilience in our community. We offer a suite of tools to help users and parents have the right experience for them, you can find more information here

What advice do you have for wary parents whose kids would like to get into gaming? 

Don’t panic! There are many different genres of games which are suitable for different ages and skills. You’ll find everything from sports, creative, educational and sometimes just silly fun, but of course, there are also some which may be less suitable for younger audiences such as first person shooters or horror. A great starting point is the Family Gaming Database, which helps parents understand individual games, and also suggests which ones are most suited to different players, by age, content, and other categories. 

Talk to your kids about the games they want to play; why do they want to play that game specifically? Are their friends already playing it, or did they hear about it online and want to join in with a popular trend? Explore the games together, help them set up their profiles and explore safety and account settings together. Knowing that you’re interested and supportive means they are much more likely to come to you if they need you. And continue this with your older kids, games are likely very important to them, showing an interest in what they enjoy is always important. You will probably learn a few things about their day to day life too; who they hang out with online, what stresses them and what they do for relaxation, fun, social time, or to challenge themselves, all of which will help your relationship with them in “the real world”.

The future of tech looks a bit different than the world we are in now. As AI and genAI become more common in video games and elsewhere, how should parents and kids navigate these changes? Is there anything potentially unsafe they should look out for?

The emerging growth of generative AI is a very useful tool for safety and creation. At Roblox we have begun using it to help creators build their experiences, as well as our multimodal AI which is being used to recognise potential bullying on the platform. There are also some challenges with this new tech, especially while it is still on the whole unregulated. To help our community understand GenAI, we co-created two guides in partnership with The National Association of Media Literacy (NAMLE); one for parents, and a guided activity for tweens and teens. We recommend you approach AI generated content with caution, try and validate its authenticity and understand where the content has come from. 

And finally, just for fun, what’s your favorite video game, and why?

Super Mario 64 is my favorite game, it really is quite old but you can play it on the Switch now which is fun. When it first launched in 1996 it was the most beautiful thing I’d seen, the colors and 3D were incredible! I do love the broad range of user-generated experiences on Roblox, the community is so creative. One particular highlight for me is the Elton John experience - “Beyond The Yellow Brick Road”, where you can listen to his catalog of hits and dress up in his outfits, go and check it out!

Written by

Laura Higgins

Laura Higgins is Senior Director of Community Safety and Civility at Roblox with years of experience building safeguarding, online safety and civility programs. Roblox’s digital civility initiative is focused on providing the community with the skills needed to create positive online experiences, working with the world’s leading safety and industry organizations.

In her previous role with the UK Safer Internet Centre, Laura founded several award-winning helpline services, and worked with the biggest names in tech. She has spoken on digital safety topics across the globe and regularly appears in the media sharing her expertise with industry experts, parents and kids.