The Metaverse has become a popular buzzword recently, but many parents still don’t know much about it.
This article will give you a basic rundown and answer questions about the Metaverse, how it relates to virtual reality (VR), and why you should care about it at all.
What Is the Metaverse?
The Metaverse will be a virtual world, a “3D version of the internet” . While it is just an idea right now, parents deserve to know more about it and the potential risks kids face.
VR is expected
to become mainstream
in the next 3-4 years.
Why Talk About the Metaverse?
Although the Metaverse does not exist yet, we can get an idea of what it might look like from games like VRChat, Minecraft, Fortnite, and Roblox.
These games offer immersive experiences that allow kids to be anyone or anything, build worlds, and meet people from all over the globe—including strangers.
Although these games offer some parental controls, they do not provide adequate protection from predators and explicit content.
Many allow contact through messages or audio from strangers, display violent or sexual material, and prioritize engagement over health.
If they are precursors to the Metaverse, parents have a reason to be concerned about the danger the Metaverse poses to their children.
Like in parks and playgrounds, predators lurk in virtual spaces looking for kids to groom and exploit.
1. Who is making the Metaverse?
Tech giants like Meta (formally called Facebook) and Google are investing billions of dollars into creating the Metaverse.
They stand to make enormous profits if their versions of the Metaverse catch on with the public.
2. Can we visit the Metaverse right now?
While not yet available, VR games give us a glimpse into what it may be like or how it might work.
These games all have in common the likelihood of interacting with strangers.
3. What will we be able to do in the Metaverse?
We will be able to meet strangers, play games, shop, have meetings, and even purchase real estate .
4. Will kids like the Metaverse?
The immense popularity of VR platforms like Oculus Quest shows us the incredible draw this experience will have.
5. Will the Metaverse be dangerous for kids?
As we’ve seen with VR, the Metaverse will allow strangers direct access to our kids—providing the perfect hunting ground for predators . Kids will approach strangers that they think are other kids.
Right now, poor age-verification screening in these games allows underage players to visit virtual strip clubs and other explicit places.
Due to the power of the immersive experience, we can assume that the attraction to “live” in the virtual world may very well threaten in-person, real-world connections.
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Social media platforms are awash with aggression, bullying, harassment, and exploitation. There’s no reason to think that these blights will not affect the metaverse.—David Fairman, APAC Chief Security Officer, Netskope, 2022
Stay Current as the Metaverse Evolves
The Metaverse is likely years away from being created. Because technology trends evolve rapidly, anything you read or hear today will likely be outdated in the coming months or years.
Still, parents have a right to be informed and up to date.
How Can I Protect My Family?
- Stay involved in their digital lives by regularly talking about what they’re doing online.
- Stay current on the latest advice from experts by following Gabb Family Resources.
- Stay safe with devices that do not have internet access, games, and social media.