Meta Urges Kids To Maximise Safety Features & Practice Critical Thinking In The Metaverse

Meta Urges Kids To Maximise Safety Features & Practice Critical Thinking In The Metaverse

Meta has released its first Metaverse Youth Safety Guide and it urges teens and children to maximise their privacy settings, ensure they have strong passwords and exercise their critical thinking in order to stay safe before heading into the metaverse.

“This new toolkit will add to the range of VR safety tools and products we have in place to ensure young people can safely enjoy exploring new technologies,” said Mia Garlick, meta’s regional director of public policy.

“It’s important we empower them to use these technologies safely, and that we give parents and guardians the resources to help navigate this ever-changing online landscape.”

The new toolkit was produced in collaboration with PROJECT ROCKIT, an Australian youth-driven movement dedicated to combatting cyberbullying and helping young people stay safe online.

With the digital marketing world often hearing so much about the community-building potential and inclusive and open nature of metaverse interactions, the toolkit is an interesting admission from the company pioneering this new digital world that not everything is, or will be, sunshine and rainbows.

The recommendations in the report are, sometimes obvious and sometimes a bit esoteric.

“Before diving into virtual space, make sure to clear out any objects or obstacles around you. Tripping or bumping into things can totally break the immersion, so create a safe zone!” reads one of the recommendations.

“VR experiences can sometimes cause motion sickness, a bit like how you might feel in a moving vehicle.  If you start feeling uncomfortable, dizzy or anxious, take a break and give yourself time to rest. It’s also important to be mindful of eye strain and fatigue. Remember to blink (sounds weird, but seriously!), look away from the screen, and take regular breaks to prevent discomfort,” reads another.

From here, the recommendations start to get a bit more technical. The toolkit recommends maximising privacy settings across the different types of devices and in the different platforms that users might visit. The same goes for content moderation tools and, should a user encounter any form of harassment or abusive behaviour, it urges them to make the most of tools to set boundaries, block, mute or report other users.

However, it is the recommendations that urge users to “exercise their critical thinking” that are perhaps the most interesting — and certainly the most optimistic.

“Virtual interactions can be deceptive,” it says, as any viewer or guest on Catfish will testify.

“Think carefully about who you engage and share information with or accept follow requests from. Be mindful sharing information about you and your experiences. To protect your identity, you might consider using a pseudonym instead of your real name,” the toolkit added.

It also urges users to be “on guard” for scammers and “other shady characters” and avoid “clicking on sketchy links, downloading files or accepting invites to join other people unless they come from a trusted source.”

It even recommends exercising caution when using digital money and “sussing out” the reputation and trustworthiness of platforms and individuals to minimise the risk of fraud.

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