What is the metaverse?
The metaverse is a series of connected digital worlds in which people interact with each other to chat, play online games or have business meetings via a digital version or avatar of themselves. Anyone can enter the metaverse using virtual reality (VR) devices, a smartphone or using a computer. As the metaverse is fairly new and evolving, parents should closely supervise their child’s virtual reality experiences.
Is the Metaverse safe for children?
The metaverse can bring a lot of learning opportunities as it is immersive and encourages creative play. Some examples of metaverse experiences include games like Roblox, Fortnight and Minecraft. Children use their avatars to play, roam, create and chat innocently but there are also users out there who may perform inappropriate acts with their avatars or even harass children. Harassment is even worse for users with VR headsets as they are 100% immersed in the abuse.
- Encourages creativity and social intelligence
- Kids can learn with their parents and gain knowledge in a less stressful environment.
- Exposure to inappropriate content such as violence, sexual content, hate speech and suicide.
- Exposure to cyberbullying.
- Risk of children getting addicted due to the immersive and engaging nature of the metaverse.
- Risk of loneliness due to being disassociated from reality.
- Being too immersive in a fake, digital world can affect a young child’s perspectives in that they have trouble telling what or who is real.
- Using VR devices can bring about health issues such as eye strain, headaches, and nausea.
- VR devices record facial and eye movements, and this biometric information can be used by companies without your knowledge.
Recommendations for parents
- Monitor your child’s online activity and manage their screen time.
- Provide guidance on appropriate behaviour when interacting with others online.
- Encourage your child to inform you of any abusive or inappropriate behaviour they may encounter.
- Try to stay informed about the metaverse and VR by looking up resources online.