Latest blogpost: Keeping Children Safe on the Metaverse

With the Christmas season in full swing, and lots of children likely to receive 3D headsets this year, parents have an important role to play in enhancing the safety of their children in the metaverse. For those who might be a little hazy about exactly what metaverse is, it’s a two or three-dimensional online environment in which users interact with each other in virtual spaces, with gaming one of the most popular uses of the technology.

A recent study by researchers from the University of East London and Middlesex University, led by Professor Julia Davidson OBE and Dr Elena Martellozzo, has shown children can be inclined to risky behaviours in such environments, meaning parents need to be careful about their children’s interactions with the metaverse.

Here, the researchers give their top safety tips.

Guidance for specific risks

  • Engage in the metaverse together 

Exploring the metaverse alongside your children can be incredibly fun. Play games together, join virtual events, explore new worlds and actively participate in their online experiences.

  • Acknowledge and discuss risks 

Recognise the potential risks linked to online behaviours and engage in discussions with your children about them. Aid their understanding of the potential dangers and repercussions associated with specific activities within the metaverse. Emphasise that experiences in the metaverse may evoke real emotions and consequences – for example, an online touch conveyed by an avatar may feel real.

  • Implement tangible solutions 

Collaborate closely with your children to put practical solutions into effect, addressing the risks they have identified in the metaverse and incorporating their suggestions. This may involve establishing safety measures. For example, work together to review and adjust privacy settings on the metaverse platform your child uses, ensuring that personal information is secure. Discuss and outline clear steps for reporting any concerning incidents or content within the virtual space, fostering a safer online experience.

  • Model responsible behaviour 

Be a positive role model by demonstrating responsible online behaviour. Children often learn by observing, so highlight the importance of respectful communication and ethical conduct in digital spaces. This includes demonstrating the importance of constructive interactions, using critical thinking skills when engaging with online content, and emphasising the significance of digital citizenship.

  • Advocate for industry changes 

Support and advocate for changes within the tech industry to enhance child safety measures, where possible. Encourage platforms to prioritise the well-being of young users and implement features that address their identified concerns. Your voice counts!

Read our archived blog posts via the below links

Blogpost 1: Serious Games, Serious Aims: Privacy Education Through Play
Blogpost 2: Safer Internet – By the People, Of the People, For the People
Blogpost 3: What’s so troubling about the metaverse and what can we do about it?
Blogpost 4: Safeguarding children in the metaverse