“Daddy, it’s Friday! Can we get our Robux?”
Every other week or so, my husband gifts our two daughters, aged 8 and 12, with online game currency to play Roblox. For those not familiar, Roblox is an online game platform that allows users to interact with others in “user-generated 3D worlds.” It is available to download and play for free on most smartphones, tablets, computers and gaming consoles. There are over 40 million games on the platform!
Our older daughter’s preferred Roblox game is Welcome to Bloxburg. Before she first played it, I reviewed the content to ensure that it was appropriate. What I found was a game that reminded me of the popular program, Sim City, from my younger days. In Bloxburg, kids (and adults) can create a character, family members, hold a job, build a home and engage in real life activities, such as working out, shopping, or throwing a birthday party.
When I ask my 12-year-old why she enjoys the game so much, she says “because it is fun and lets me create and do interesting things.” In a time when there are limitations on interesting things to do out in the real world, Bloxburg gives her a chance to do some of them in a virtual world. While screen time can be an ongoing battle with a pre-teen, what I’ve learned is that there is real world value in her playing the game.
Bloxburg Life Lessons
Money Management: Through playing Bloxburg, kids can learn basic money management skills. There are options to select an occupation, work and be paid. Money earned can then be used to buy items for home construction, interior design, groceries, vehicles and more. As a pizza delivery driver she earns $1,000 in game currency per minute (umm, sign ME up!). What I love about this aspect of the game is that she gets to make decisions about how to best use her money. If she wants to add a cool new piece of furniture, she must weigh whether or not it is worth the purchase price and then work enough to buy it. The more you work, the more opportunities you have to “level up” and receive more work opportunities and higher pay.
Creativity: Through trial and error, as well as Youtube tutorials, my daughter has become quite skilled in exterior and interior design in the game. The level of detail she has in her designs is incredible.
Problem Solving: Life happens, even in a virtual world. Sometimes a design idea doesn’t work out as envisioned. The game has a paid “advanced placing” pass that makes designing and navigating the game easier. However, since she doesn’t have the pass, she has discovered hacks that allow her to replicate more advanced design features through the Roblox Studio.
Community. Although she can build her virtual home or even an entire neighborhood on her own, she has found that working together with others is not only more productive and efficient, but it’s also more fun. Over the summer, she and a friend worked together to build a mansion. There are even opportunities to donate money to others. The game allows users to create private servers in which friends can join with a specific code for community role playing. There is also a chat feature that lets friends have conversations within the game.
On weekends and during school breaks, I can hear my daughter and her friends talking and giggling on the phone while they “hang out” together in their Bloxburg world. Sometimes it’s at 11:45 p.m. I’m ok with it. Why? Because, in a real world that feels a little overwhelming right now, I’m glad she has a safe, fun world on a 14” inch screen that she can escape to with her friends for a little while.
What are some ways your kiddo has found to escape from the real world?