- The report highlights three categories of harm: Physiological dangers, privacy violations, and false imprisonment and manipulations.
- Two categories of potential harm that require further exploration are psychological risks and sexual content and abuse.
- Three suggested safeguards to protect adolescents in the metaverse are included in the report.
While virtual reality poses an abundance of benefits and opportunities to individuals & businesses, a number of risks are posed to children. Common Sense Media, an organization dedicated to reviewing various media and its suitability for children, released a report summarizing the potential threats to children produced by the metaverse.
The report, titled “Kids and the Metaverse: What Parents, Policymakers, and Companies Need to Know”, highlights three categories of harm caused by the metaverse: Physiological dangers, privacy violations, and false information and manipulations. Physiological dangers include VR induced ailments such as eye strain and nausea, while collection of sensitive information and ill-intentions by bad actors are prime examples of the false information and privacy violations.
Two categories of potential harm that require further exploration are psychological risks and sexual content and abuse. The report states that “signs of a relationship exist between the VR technologies underlying the metaverse and addiction, increased aggression, and dissociation from reality.” Furthermore, users can encounter virtual strip clubs and simulated sex acts, which can cause greater trauma to an unsuspecting child due to the immersive nature of virtual reality.
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To round off the report, Common Sense includes three suggested safeguards to protect adolescents in the metaverse. The report calls for VR devices and metaverse systems to be designed with children in mind, policymakers to invest in VR and metaverse research, and for parents to educate themselves on the metaverse to better protect their kids.