When we refer to young individuals, it’s vital to anticipate the risks, each of which materializing can have a negative long-term impact, considering the native vulnerabilities of this age group.
What are the possible countermeasures in line with guidelines, frameworks, and standards needed to advance this shift?
The panel discussion focused on the need for a new framework for child safety in the metaverse, with the aim of raising awareness of the risks facing children in this virtual world and identifying ways to mitigate those risks. The moderator, Natalia Antonova, emphasized the importance of anticipating risks and vulnerabilities of young individuals in the metaverse and mitigating them through interdisciplinary collaboration, education, and a global framework for child protection.
The panel consisted of four experts in the field of child safety and online behavior. Treye Thomas, a lead toxicologist and program manager for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, stressed the importance of considering the native vulnerabilities of young people when it comes to risks in the metaverse. He suggested that countermeasures should align with guidelines, frameworks, and standards to ensure safety for children.
Iain Drennan, Executive Director of WeProtect Global Alliance, highlighted the work of the organization in ending child sexual exploitation and abuse. He emphasized that greater collaboration between governments, industry, and civil society is necessary to protect children online. He also advocates for ending violence against children and is co-chair of the Executive Committee of the Global Partnership to End Violence Against Children and Vice-Chair of the Brave Movement.
David Wright, CEO at the South West Grid for Learning Trust and director of UK Safer Internet Centre, has extensive experience in online safety for 20 years with children, schools, and wider agencies. He advises several governments and organizations on online safety strategy and policy and has been appointed as an expert child online protection adviser to the UN ITU. David recommended greater investment in education and awareness-raising to help children navigate online risks.
The panelists discussed a range of topics, including emerging technologies, the role of parents and caregivers in online safety, and the importance of survivors' perspectives in shaping policy. They also discussed the potential risks and benefits of immersive technologies, including virtual reality and augmented reality, and how to harness their positive applications while mitigating potential harms. They emphasized the need for interdisciplinary collaboration to tackle the challenges of child safety in the metaverse and the need for a global framework for child protection.
The panelists also discussed the role of government and industry in promoting child safety in the metaverse and the need for regulation and accountability. They highlighted the challenges of balancing privacy and safety concerns and the need for transparent and ethical data collection and use.
In summary, the main ideas and insights from the panel discussion are:
- The need for a new framework for child safety in the metaverse, taking into account the native vulnerabilities of young people and interdisciplinary collaboration.
- The potential risks and benefits of immersive technologies, and the need to harness their positive applications while mitigating potential harms.
- The importance of education and awareness-raising for parents, educators, and children themselves to promote safe online behavior and reduce risks.
- The role of government and industry in promoting child safety in the metaverse and the need for regulation and accountability.
- The challenges of balancing privacy and safety concerns and the need for transparent and ethical data collection and use.
- The importance of survivors' perspectives in shaping policy and the need for continued collaboration and innovation to address the evolving risks and challenges in the metaverse.