Safety for Underage Participants in Metaverse

Ensuring the safety of underage participants in the metaverse is a significant concern, as children and teenagers may be more vulnerable to online predators
What Is The Sandbox (SAND)? | Metaverse911
Sandbox Metaverse

A number of gaming platforms are now on the metaverse, such as Sandbox, Roblox,and others that are rapidly emerging. People of all ages participate in these immersive and experiential gaming platforms.

One area of concern is underage participants due to their higher likelihood of being taken advantage of. With the danger of child predators, unrestricted content, and no guardrails for content rating the metaverse becomes an extremely complex and potentially dangerous place for younger participants.

There has already been wide criticism of the metaverse as a haven for child predators. While some providers claim their platforms are only available forages 18 and up many children are reportedly joining them and bypassing the age restriction gate.

Adult and Children on Metaverse
Adults and Children on Metaverse

Experts suggest that mixing adult audiences and children creates a huge challenge as sexual predators are typically the first to arrive on social network platforms. Abusive content is also prevalent on the metaverse.Independent research from the Center for Countering Digital Hate, or CCDH, has found that users, including minors, are exposed to abusive behavior every seven minutes.

Otherreports suggest racism and explicit pornography content that are alsoprevalent. Although some government agencies and independent nonprofits have special lines open to report abusive behavior, sexual harassment even of older people, and especially of women is already being reported from the metaverse.

It is clearly a place for racial abuse, inequality and discrimination based one thnicity, religious beliefs and other criteria. It is easy to target people on the metaverse with no repercussions at all.

It is also difficult to track abusive content and behavior unless reported. Itis up to platform owners to take complaints seriously and to take sub sequentaction. Since it's beginning, social media has also been rife with challenges to child safety and abuse. The metaverse is most likely to see a rise in abusive content and sexual harassment unless heavy regulation and fines are levied on people who misuse these platforms.

Platform providers need to take major steps to enable routine auditing of their services to ensure their metaverse worlds are safe and equitable for all.

Independent reports further suggest that virtual reality is not suitable for children under12 due to its impact on vision. With the prolonged use of virtual reality glasses younger people could develop eye conditions, nausea, eye strain, and headaches that may potentially lead to significant damage.

Parents and caretakers of youngsters have the responsibility to limit VR usage and supervise participation to protect young children from the detrimental effects off the metaverse.

Rrahul Sethi
Updated on  
March 17, 2023
5 min read