This blog post is the first entry in an ongoing series about digital well-being and how play builds resilient online citizens…
We believe in the value of play. Just like sleep, play is an essential human need. It’s how we learn to take control of our lives, to adapt to new challenges, and collaborate with our peers. But most of all, play is fun and makes us happy. A world at play is a better world, not just for children but for everyone.
German educator Friedrich Froebel, one of the world’s leading pioneers on play, postulated that children learn about themselves and the world around them through play. He believed children learn best through self-directed activities, and he developed toys that were intended to “challenge the child to construct and experiment, and in this way inspire its fantasy, train its ability to concentrate, and at the same time further its social relations.”
Froebel’s philosophy and our mission at Roblox are very much aligned. Prior to founding Roblox, our CEO David Baszucki founded Knowledge Revolution, a company which supplied students and teachers with a 2-D virtual physics lab. After completing the lessons, David found that students remained in the virtual world long afterward, designing cars, trucks, and buildings. In other words, they were playing!
This was the inspiration for Roblox: to create a platform that would give anyone and everyone the ability to imagine, create, interact, collaborate, learn, and have fun.
In Froebel’s day, playing took place on playgrounds and in sandboxes, but in today’s world, this same kind of learning takes place online, too – in virtual playgrounds where kids and teens can develop critical thinking skills, collaborate, and socialize.
It’s important to allow kids the time and opportunity to do what Froebel knew to be true – to play. Whether in a virtual sandbox or on an outdoor playground, kids given the time and space to play will gain cognitive skills and build emotional intelligence. And just as importantly, they’ll grow up knowing that play is fun and makes people happy.