Digital Civility 2020 Highlights
by Laura Higgins
2020 has been a year like no other. The global pandemic has meant many people have had to shelter in place, forced to be away from work, school, friends, and family. And while it has greatly disrupted everyday life, we have found ways to adapt. People are connecting online in new ways like video-conference family chats, learning and working together remotely, and creating spaces to play and socialize together. Roblox has been instrumental in connecting people from around the world, and our community supported one another in a multitude of ways. Here are just a few highlights from our Digital Civility Initiative that’s focused on working with our community as well as educators, parents, and the industry at large to promote positive, healthy online experiences.
Enabling Connections and Friendships
Roblox has proudly continued supporting millions of amazing experiences and games created by our talented developer community. Some of these games have hit huge milestones (Adopt Me has had over 15 billion visits!), and many have become preferred safe places for people to hang out together with their friends and family and celebrate birthdays and other holidays like Easter or Thanksgiving while also utilizing our private servers for creating their own events.
As one of our community members shared: “For many people, it may seem different to be communicating and hanging out online rather than in real life, but since I’ve spoken to people on a regular basis online for years through Roblox and formed good friendships it’s felt quite normal to me.”
Our Education team created great resources to support remote learning, including a series of webinars for teachers adapting to this new environment and keen to learn how they can incorporate Roblox Studio into their existing curriculum. We dedicated one of these webinars to Digital Civility and Online Safety and were excited to see this session viewed nearly 300,000 times just on YouTube. Moreover, we heard back from teachers who actively started using our curriculum in their work. Inspired by this success, the team created a new Digital Civility curriculum featuring six sessions (up to 20 hours of content) that allow educators to engage students in ongoing conversations and help them develop long-term safety and civility skills. The curriculum also includes a fun scavenger hunt to help players spot unreliable information that’s already been played more than 3 million times.
Listening to the Community
One of our core values at Roblox is Respect the Community. In that spirit, we wanted to find ways to listen to our community to better understand their experiences and needs. We started a Sounding Board to regularly meet with a small group of young people who spend a lot of time on the Roblox platform and are passionate about representing its community. We discuss safety and civility topics, providing an opportunity to share what they feel we need to know. We have already started bringing ideas from these meetings to other Roblox teams and are looking at how we can implement some of those suggestions.
We also carried out two surveys of the broader community, one where we dove into what parents should understand about kids’ and teens’ online lives, and another in May, asking our community how the pandemic had affected them and their online lives. The stand-out headlines for us were that people leaned into new experiences during the pandemic and have been making new friends. We hope these new relationships continue long after the pandemic!
Fostering a Safe, Civil, and Inclusive Community
One of our top priorities continues to be our community’s safety. We have a responsibility to make sure our players can safely learn, create, and play on Roblox. We created new safety resources with partners in France, the UK, the USA, as well as a guide in German, and continue to look at how we can work with organizations all over the world to help support families with safety.
It was great to hear from one of our sounding board members who uses Roblox to talk to friends from school. They said: “The online world is a fun adventure, but sometimes you can get a bit lost. I feel safe knowing the Roblox team is working to protect us 24/7.”
We have updated our policies and systems as part of our mission to build an inclusive community where everyone belongs. As we witnessed the global movement in support of the black community following the passing of George Floyd, our founder and CEO David Baszucki shared our values in a blog post making it clear that Roblox is a place where everyone should feel welcome. Platforms like Roblox are key in helping people learn and practice civility, and we will not waiver in our mission to build an environment that fosters positive relationships between people around the world.
Moving into 2021, our priority areas are well-being (in all its forms) and providing tools to help you to help us in keeping the community safe, healthy, and positive.