Online Roblox game can fuel anxiety in kids

With Rainbow Friends, the gamer poses as a child who has been kidnapped

A popular Roblox game could cause young children to develop anxiety, experts have warned.

Rainbow Friends is a horror game, which involves players completing various quests, such as collecting objects while avoiding monsters that chase them.

Roblox is a popular online gaming platform with millions of mainly young users, with children as young a four logging in daily to play and socialise with friends.

With Rainbow Friends, the gamer poses as a child who has been kidnapped during a school trip to an amusement park called Odd World.

The game is PG-rated for mild violence and it is said to be suitable for kids over nine years old. However, children aged much younger are being exposed, reports The Western Australian.

Child psychologist Deirdre Brandner said this is worrying because their developmental age meant the line between pretend and reality can be blurred.

“It starts with something quite benign and engaging and it’s actually the shift from that to the darkness that is the most distressing for children,” she told AAP.

“By then, they have developed trust in that character and then it turns out to be something they are not expecting.

“That’s when we see increases in anxiety and, you know, there is a correlation between what children are being exposed to, and anxiety and the fact that particularly for this age group – it’s a very, very vulnerable place that these children find themselves in.

“It is important to talk to your kids, and other parents, about what they are watching or what their friends are watching.”

Roblox said in a statement: “Parents can set restrictions based on the age recommendation assigned to individual games and experiences on Roblox, with three age categories to choose from: content recommended for “All Ages”, content for users “9+”, or content for users “13+”.

“In the case of Rainbow Friends, the game is not playable for accounts that have been age-restricted to either the “All Ages” or “9+” categories.”

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