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Metaverse for Kids: A Parent’s Guide

metaverse Oct 20, 2022

Since Facebook's bold announcement that it would focus on the metaverse and change its name to Meta, the metaverse has moved from the vague pages of science fiction to the center of attention. The founder of the non-profit XR Safety Initiative, Kavya Pearlman, defines the metaverse as "a shared three-dimensional state where people can interact in virtual reality."

Simply put, the metaverse is a lot bigger than just Facebook or virtual reality. It’s bigger than the futuristic images of people spending a huge chunk of their time strapped into virtual headsets and living in virtual spaces.

It's a platform of digital worlds that work together and let people talk to each other through first-person avatars. It's helpful to gain a better understanding of this shifting virtual landscape to empower yourself and your children to explore this vast, new digital world safely. 


How Kids Use the Metaverse

There are many ways this technology can be used. However, kids generally use the metaverse for gaming and socialization. They can do so by using any number of devices, including smartphones, computers, and virtual reality goggles. Kids can show off their imagination and originality in the metaverse by modifying their avatars, making their own virtual worlds, and making purchases with virtual currency.

Fortnite, Minecraft, and Roblox are three of the most popular children's games that offer a metaverse experience. Despite the common misconception, Metaverse access is possible without the use of VR headsets. Roblox, for example, is a shared digital environment that can be played from a PC or a smartphone. 

Families could also interact with each other in a way that feels like real life in a virtual space. For example, instead of making kids call a parent or grandparent who lives in another state, families in the metaverse could spend time in a virtual house, tending the garden, watching a movie, or working on an assignment.


Do Parents Need to Worry

If there's one thing we know for sure, it's that the metaverse isn't something that might happen in the future. It's already here, and companies around the world have recently invested billions of dollars in it, so it's likely here to stay. Immersive learning is one of the many exciting possibilities for children in the metaverse. It does, however, pose certain risks and dangers to children.

  1. Age Verification – this is often unreliable and inaccurate on social media sites. It doesn't do much to keep younger kids from getting to things that are meant for adults.  
  2. Privacy Risks – so much of the metaverse is customizable but there will be a digital trail that data companies can easily follow.  
  3. Exposure to Sexually Graphic Content – because these games don't do a good job of checking players' ages, people who are too young will be able to go to virtual strip clubs and other explicit places.


Keep Your Kids Safe in the Metaverse

You might still feel overwhelmed by the idea of the metaverse. However, the advice, wisdom, and guidance you provide for your child can establish effective boundaries for interaction with the metaverse and virtual reality.

Parents and policymakers need to make sure that there are places in the metaverse that are safe for kids of all ages. 

  1. Stay Involved – Spending time with your kids will help them trust you. If your child wants to try a metaverse platform, join them and try it out together. Look for activities or hobbies that you can both enjoy.  
  2. Be in the loop – Keep track of the most recent metaverse-related studies, research the safest new products for your kids and be sure to be aware of the privacy laws by following   
  3. Set good boundaries – Establish firm limits on your children's participation in virtual worlds like the metaverse, including when, where, and how much access your kids can have to online experiences. 


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