The Metaverse promises to blur boundaries between reality & virtual worlds. Today, vulnerable populations, children & young adults, experience the most significant risks while navigating these environments.
Privacy, security & autonomy are critical to developing a child’s identity & sense of self.
How do we define Children’s Rights in the Metaverse, and how can we safeguard children against potential harm in virtual worlds?
The keynote addressed the challenges and risks that children may face in the Metaverse, highlighting the importance of defining and safeguarding children's rights. The keynote emphasized the need for privacy, security, and autonomy in the development of a child's identity and sense of self. Sonia Livingstone, a Professor of Social Psychology at the London School of Economics and Political Science, directed the "Digital Futures Commission" and "Global Kids Online" projects, which aim to study children's opportunities, risks, and rights in a digital world. The keynote discussed the potential benefits of the metaverse for children, including innovative education, therapy, and play, and the importance of harnessing these positive applications. The keynote concluded by calling for a rights-based approach to the development of the metaverse, centered around children's best interests, and a commitment to protecting their rights and well-being.
Main ideas and insights:
The Metaverse poses new and unforeseen risks and psychological harms for vulnerable populations, particularly children and young adults.
Defining children's rights and safeguarding them against potential harm in virtual worlds is essential.
Privacy, security, and autonomy are critical to developing a child's identity and sense of self.
Companies must implement ethical data collection and management practices and put safeguards in place to protect children from potential harms.
Collaboration between policymakers, technology companies, and child advocacy groups is essential to creating a safe and ethical Metaverse.
The keynote aimed to raise awareness of the risks and opportunities associated with immersive technologies and to encourage stakeholders to work together to ensure children’s safety and well-being in the digital world.
The speakers also discussed the importance of digital literacy and empowerment for children in the metaverse. With the rapid pace of technological advancement, children must be equipped with the skills and knowledge necessary to navigate digital environments safely and responsibly. This includes understanding the risks associated with sharing personal information online, recognizing and reporting inappropriate behavior, and developing critical thinking skills to evaluate the credibility of online information. The keynote emphasized the need for ongoing education and awareness-raising efforts to promote digital literacy and empowerment among children, parents, educators, and policymakers. By prioritizing these efforts, we can ensure that children are better equipped to navigate the metaverse and other digital environments with confidence and resilience.