Metaverse for children: how does it affect their universe?

After the metaverse for everyone comes the metaverse for children, which does not lack advantages as well as disadvantages. Some companies are starting to position themselves as suppliers of the best virtual reality for children. Certainly their initiatives are commendable, but we are not without the fact that this universe also has its share of dangers. Raising awareness of shared responsibility between parents and promoters of children’s metaverses is one of the objectives of this article.

Invented by “Snow Crash” (1992) author Neal Stephenson, the word “metaverse” refers to a virtual reality environment. Since it is connected to the internet, you can therefore access it anywhere and anytime, from a computer or smartphone.

The metaverse we know today bears some similarities to that envisioned by Stephenson. Except that the patchwork of online virtual worlds serving as ours nourishing environment it is still in its infancy. But that hasn’t stopped people and companies from getting busy in the metaverse, if nothing else buy virtual real estate, play games or even train soldiers.

The metaverse for children represents endless possibilities from :

  • socialization;
  • learn new skills;
  • play online games alone or with friends;
  • take virtual courses on educational platforms;
  • etc

Here we can cite the example of Minecraft which introduced some notions of culture to children through suitable learning environments. Soon, the duo Epic Games and LEGO will be a hit among young people too.

However, the metaverse son has its drawbacks. Just to mention:

  • cyber bullying;
  • the proliferation of inappropriate content.

It was therefore up to parents and educators to help the little ones navigate the children’s metavarse safely.

Adult involvement is essential! – Source: EmerginEdTech

Some experts seem less optimistic about the impact of the metaverse on the child. Already, social networks have ended up with many misfortunes : depression, self-harm, mental health problems, etc. The Kid Metaverse could be even worse than them.

However, a University of Southern California gambling study showed the opposite of these claims. In fact it foresees it games and virtual reality promote empathy and have a positive impact on mental health. Provided of course that they are used correctly.

Only problem, companies that neglected user safety seem to be in the metaverse again. It is very likely that these same actors will continue their old practices in this new virtual reality. And hello loneliness, the massive influx of dangerous content … and why not suicide.

Benefits

Kid’s Metaverse embarks several advantagesknow :

  • grasp abstract concepts in an engaging way;
  • access to near-real hands-on experience to help children better understand their environment and how it works;
  • improve children’s social skills;
  • provide a safe and controlled environment to interact and make friends;
  • the existence of a springboard for the creativity and development of the social intelligence of children;
  • the metaverse as a source of entertainment;
  • bond between parents and children;
  • etc

It is up to the parents, however, to be aware of the potential dangers and to do so take the necessary measures to ensure the safety of their offspring. In this way, the children’s metaverse will become an ideal place for children to explore and learn.

Disadvantages

Sure, the children’s metaverse has its strengths, but it also has them its weak points. We will mention in particular:

  • cyberbullying (often a source of harassment for children);
  • lack of confidentiality and privacy problem;
  • inappropriate content (violence, sexual content, hate speech, etc.);
  • the creation of an addiction in the child given its highly immersive and engaging nature;
  • the physiological and physical risks associated with the metaverse for children due to the intensive use of VR headsets (dizziness, nausea, headache, etc.);
  • unequal access which will create an educational disadvantage for the less well off;
  • etc

To make it effective, Parents are advised to closely monitor their children’s activities in the metaverse. So here are some things to consider:

  • acute surveillance of their online activities, of what they see and do in the metaverse for children;
  • prior definition of the rules and definition of clear guidelines for the use of the metaverse (even if this means revising them later);
  • advice on how to behave when interacting with other people once online (including encouraging them to be polite and caring);
  • help in the optimized management of time dedicated to the virtual world and the real world;
  • etc

Even the manufacturers and companies have their share of responsibility. Of course, it seems illusory to expect a lot from them, but they will have to consider the following parameters:

  • content moderation;
  • reporting and repression of misconduct, with clear mechanisms to manage such reports;
  • design of VR devices and metaverse systems adapted to the comfort and well-being of children;
  • integration of anti-virus software (including, but not limited to, password protection and encryption) into VR devices and metaverse platforms for children;
  • etc

When it comes to children, and the metaverse for children, there is no escape from the question of parental protection and responsibility. However, this responsibility must be shared with technology companies. Because by neglecting the dangers children face on their platform and while using their devices, they will surely lose customers.

Source: Cointelegraph

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Mikaia ANDRIAMAHAZOARIMANANA

The blockchain and crypto revolution is underway! And the day the impacts are felt on the world’s most vulnerable economy, against all hope, I will say it has something to do with it.

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