Metaverse for children: How does it impact their universe?

After the metaverse for all comes the metaverse for children which does not lack advantages as well as disadvantages. Some companies are starting to position themselves as providers of the best virtual realities for children. Certainly, their initiatives are commendable, but we are not unaware that this universe also has its share of dangers. Raising awareness of a shared responsibility, between parents and promoters of metaverses for children, is one of the aims of this article.

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

The metaverse we currently know has some similarities to the one imagined by Stephenson. Except that the patchwork of online virtual worlds that serves as our nurturing environment is still in its infancy. But that hasn’t stopped people and businesses from getting busy in the metaverse, if only to buy virtual real estate, play games or even train soldiers.

The metaverse for children represents endless possibilities of :

  • socialization;
  • learning 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 adequate learning environments. Soon the duo Epic Games and LEGO will also be a hit with the youngest.

However, the child metaverse has its drawbacks. To cite only:

  • cyberbullying;
  • the proliferation of inappropriate content.

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

Adult involvement is essential! – Source : EmerginEdTech

Some experts seem unoptimistic about the impact of the metaverse on the child. Already, social networks landed with a lot of misfortunes : depression, self-harm, mental health problems, etc. The Kid Metaverse might be even worse than them.

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

Only problem, the companies which neglected the security of the users seem again present in the metaverse. 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.

Advantages

The Kid’s Metaverse Embarks several advantagesto know :

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

It is up to parents, however, to be aware of the potential dangers and to 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

Certainly, the metaverse for children has its strengths, but it also has its weak points. We will cite in particular:

  • cyberbullying (often a source of harassment for children);
  • lack of confidentiality and privacy issue;
  • inappropriate content (violence, sexual content, hate speech, etc.);
  • the creation of a dependency 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, headaches, etc.);
  • unequal access which will create an educational disadvantage for the less well-off;
  • etc

To make this effective, parents are advised to closely monitor their children’s activities in the metaverse. So here are a few things to consider:

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

Also, the manufacturers and companies have their share of responsibility. Admittedly, 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 for dealing with such reports;
  • design of VR devices and suitable metaverse systems 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 we speak of children, and of the metaverse for children, we cannot escape the question of protection and parental responsibility. Nevertheless, this responsibility must be shared with technology companies. Because by neglecting the dangers that children incur on their platform, and while using their devices, they will certainly lose customers.

Source : Cointelegraph

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Metaverse for children: How does it impact their universe?


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