Yubo and Roblox join Australia's effort in keeping kids safe online

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LITHGOW CHILD
A woman watches her grandson on a swing at a playground at the seaside suburb of Williamstown in Melbourne June 18, 2008. Reuters/Mick Tsikas

Social networking app Yubo and social and gaming platform Roblox have become the newest services to join the eSafety Commissioner’s Tier 1 social media scheme. They aim to resolve serious cyberbullying that targets Aussie kids.

eSafety Commissioner Julie Inman Grant welcomed Yubo and Roblox in the scheme. The partnerships mean that if the services fail to act within 48 hours, the eSafety Commissioner now has escalation paths to get perpetrators or content removed once an Australian child under age 18 is cyberbullied.

Online safety for Aussie kids

“We are proactively encouraging gaming and social networking platforms to join our cyberbullying scheme, particularly those with a large youth user base,” Grant said in a statement. The eSafety Commissioner has released research showing that 6 in 10 young people play multiplayer games, with 17 percent of these players experiencing in-game bullying in a 12-month period. The percentage is equivalent to about 200,000 young Australians.

The Office of the eSafety Commissioner has collected data from its 2017 Youth Participation Survey in the production of its latest report on youth and online gaming.

Grant praised Roblox, saying that it is setting the standard for others to follow provided its high volume of global engagement and the extent to which cyberbullying impacts young people on gaming platforms. She described Roblox’s efforts to continue evolving its safety standards as impressive.

The platform does so by introducing innovative protocols and features. These include clear age visibility, parental controls and strict chat controls. The moderation team sees expansion to moderate behaviour that the platform does not tolerate. Roblox is the first multiplayer online gaming platform to be part of the scheme.

The eSafety commissioner also praised Yubo for extensively reworking its safety features to make its platform safer for teens. The app takes the safety of its users seriously by changing age restrictions, setting clear policies about inappropriate content and cyberbullying, upgrading its real identity policy and providing users with the ability to turn location data off.

Yubo is formally called “Yellow.” The social video app has more than 15 million users worldwide and allows teens to create communities of friends.

Grant said the new partnerships show Yubo and Roblox’s willingness to partner with the Australian government to keep Australian children safe online. She said it also signifies their commitment to continue to invest and innovate in the safety of their platforms for the benefit of their users.