Metaverse expressed concern, warning that when developing a broader virtual universe ecosystem, it is necessary to ensure the safety of children with a view to health.
With just a virtual reality lens, Mainak Chaudhuri, a young girl from a French startup, is excited to share the potential of virtual space technology. Chaudhuri insists that this is the first step to the virtual universe when the vest helps users have authentic experiences, such as when the wind hits their back or feel the breath of a monster behind their back, thereby enhancing the experience for users when watching movies, learning or playing video games.
While industry insiders are excited to develop and introduce new technologies, experts and activists expressed concern, warning that developing a broader virtual universe ecosystem should ensure child safety with a vision for health.
Expert Kavya Pearlman from the XR Safety Initiative said that the biggest challenge is not to expose children to content not intended for their age. XR Safety Initiative often conducts advocacy campaigns to ensure innovative technologies are safe for everyone. This professional is concerned about may include children’s exposure to sexual content and violence or the risk of young people being taken advantage of to become content creators or having inappropriate contact with adults.
Although the virtual universe is not yet really popular and add-on technologies are still being developed, the early users raised some serious issues. For example, a woman user once reflected on her profile picture being used for sexual abuse.
The world began to discover concerns as economic opportunities from this technology became increasingly apparent. According to McKinsey Research, in 2021, investments related to virtual space technology exceeded $50 billion, and the company forecasts that this number could more than double this year. According to McKinsey, the investment was more than three times the investment in artificial intelligence (AI) technology recorded in 2017.
One of the leading investors for the virtual universe is Meta, the host company of social media platforms such as Instagram, Facebook, and WhatsApp. Meta has implemented many measures to give parents more control over what their children can interact with when using VR virtual reality glasses. Meta and some competitors have marketed products that serve to join the virtual universe with children aged 13 and over, but many still assume younger children can use this technology.
The Pearlman expert also warned that there is little understanding of the potential impact on children’s development. Businesses have yet to evaluate these experiences from a scientific point of view but still, allow children to use new technologies to experiment with young children’s brain development. Experts say the industry needs more oversight before problems get serious.
The necessary solution is to ensure that those building the virtual universe focus on child protection measures from the start. In other words, any software or hardware created must respect the principle that children may use the product and should have appropriate protection for the child. According to Megale experts, all products significantly impact the behavior, emotions, and nerves of young children in the “golden” stage, so they need to be protected based on ethical and safety principles from the design stage.
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