Youth aghast, parents elated as popular online game is banned in UAE
The game has features that can block 'trolls' and inappropriate content.
Youngsters who were minting thousands from online game Roblox are devastated that the game has been banned in the UAE.
However, parents are relieved that the multiplayer game has been banned, as it was deemed inappropriate for kids - sometimes where players would display nude or inappropriately dressed avatars and use offensive language.
Meanwhile, the UAE-based players are questioning the ban, insisting that the game has features that can block 'trolls' and inappropriate content. Last week, Khaleej Times reported that Dr Hamad Saif Al Shamsi, UAE Attorney-General, had ordered to block a number of online gaming websites, including Roblox, My Friend Cayla, Blue Whale, Cloudpets, and Mariam. The ban was to ensure these games don't have a negative impact on young people's lives.
A Dubai-based 14-year-old player with online identity 'The Laughing Unicorn' was a regular at making YouTube videos of playing the game and has more than eight million views on her channel. She has about 87,000 subscribers, earning her a large sum of money.
"I've spent Dh500 on the game and made around 200,000 robux (name of Roblox currency), which would be the equivalent of $700. I've made even more from YouTube. I make a monthly average of $350 from YouTube and it is constantly increasing with the growth of my channel. I mostly record gameplays, speed-builds and machinimas, which are frame-by-frame animations," she said, who has been playing the game since 2016.
"This (the ban) makes me terribly sad and angry. There are so many innocent users, some have spent tonnes of money on the game, some have made tonnes, some were developers and some were innocent civilians. I truly am devastated," she said, adding that the ban will also affect her in a large way. "I now have to look at a completely different community to join so I can continue my YouTube channel."
An Emirati player of Roblox Omar Al Mutawa, said he was shocked to see the banning of the game. "I don't think it should be banned. I've built a career on that platform and my goal is to influence children and make them enjoy their experience in the game.
"They just look at some of the people who just joke around in the game. Minecraft and every single game do the same. Roblox does everything to prevent the inappropriate content from occurring, such as banning people who have inappropriate clothing," he said.
"Roblox has a moderating system where they ban people who add inappropriate clothing and add shirts and underwear for people who try to turn into naked characters'. I don't see how their intention was to try to be inappropriate when they're trying to exile inappropriate content."
However, Dubai-based parent, Dinesh Kewalramani, has welcomed the move by the UAE authorities as he believes banning games as such will protect children.
"Games like Roblox reflects badly on the development and growth of the children. Banning these games will allow children to move in the right direction. I only allow my children to play games that are safe," he said.
"If any online game is dangerous or inappropriate for children, it should be banned. We thank the UAE authorities for their vigilance in enabling our children to be responsible citizens."
What is Roblox
Roblox is an online multi-player game where players can build their own games. Users can do role playing, go on adventures and play user-generated games. Each user has their own avatar and can purchase accessories with Rubox, which is Roblox's own currency name. Players can also chat with other players from around the world.
The state has to step in regulate online content like games when parental controls don't work. Banning Roblox was the right decision to take considering the dangerous nature of the game that could influence young minds. An open internet is a good thing in principle but could also open into a deep dark web of deceit and deception.
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