She posed as both a 22-year-old woman and a 13-year-old girl
The interactions horrified her
What Is the Metaverse?
Portmanteau of “meta” (“after” or “beyond”) and “universe” – so, “beyond the universe”
A vague and complex term for an online space, typically including virtual reality OR a virtual world (like Fortnite, Roblox, Minecraft, World of Warcraft, etc.)
No clear-cut definition, no established rules
Few people fully appreciate how fast this will all happen
Heavy reliance on user-generated content (particularly in chat rooms), which is protected by Section 230
Headsets, glasses, contact lenses?
Most companies anticipate some sort of digital economy within those spaces
Some plans to incorporate physical sensations, like smell, touch, and sound
Who Can Access the “Metaverse”?
Users of Oculus Quest (now called “Meta Quest”), a popular VR headset
Apps are downloaded from the Oculus Quest Store that enable Oculus Quest users * to interact with each in virtual space
Apps can be used with multiple VR devices, not just Meta Quest
We prohibit anyone under 13 from creating Quest accounts and design some experiences only for people 18 and over.
We have a suite of VR parental supervision tools to help parents and carers who choose to allow teens 13 and over to use the headset to monitor their use, limit the time they spend using it and ensure they take breaks.
Some Emerging Risks
More Difficult for Parents to Monitor What Children Are Doing
Distraction / Addiction
Overspending on upgrades
Loss of Privacy
Motion sickness from immersive reality
Discomfort / pain from wearing headsets too long
Desensitization to harmful behavior
Racism / Misogyny / Hate Speech
** Probably analyzed on the basis of harmful speech, not physical crimes
Sexual Harassment and Assault
** User can’t “feel” unwanted physical contact but is aware that other user is making those motions in their physical space
Better Age Verification
Young children can get access to various examples of the metaverse
Better Enforcement of Age-Limited Content
Easy for young children to get access to sexualized material and view other forms of anti-social behavior
Interesting Media Examples
** “Tron” [movie]
** Star Trek: The Next Generation holodeck [TV show]
** “Ready Player One” [book/movie]
** Zoom / Microsoft Teams / etc.
** “Mythic Quest” [TV show]
** Gather Town
** “Free Guy” [movie]
** “Upload” [TV show]