Top Children’s Rights Advocates Warn Metaverse Is No Place For Kids As Meta Urged To Stop Promotions

A group comprising nearly 70 leading children’s rights advocates and those promoting online privacy are now expressing concern about the metaverse.

They claim the platform is not the place for kids to linger around while admitting the consequences can be overwhelming. In the same way, those people expressing concern mentioned how Facebook’s parent firm needs to abandon all of its marketing strategies linked to teens as it’s not the right thing to do.

Furthermore, they added how this news could expose minors to controversial themes including child abuse, bullying, explicit content, and those related to homophobia.

The news comes after leading executives from the Center of Digital Democracy and a few others reached out to CEO Mark Zuckerberg regarding the matter through a letter that was outlined on Friday.

This is where they highlighted that minors in the Horizon World are going to be exposed to bullying and so matters need to be put into place before this actually comes into effect.

Moreover, this letter comes exactly a month after we saw The Wall Street Journal publish a report that showed how keen Meta is on bringing on board younger audiences aged between 13 to 17 to this platform. It happens to be the place where users interact with one another.

For now, the app only enables those that are 18 and above to register. So as you can see, having younger people on board can be detrimental for obvious reasons.

The deputy director for one of the children’s rights organizations mentioned how Meta is really working hard at proving that it does not care about the best interest of its younger audience members and instead, is just focused on an expansion of its business operations.

Hence, it strongly feels that before Meta opts to continue further with its Horizon Worlds for teenagers, it really does need to add the right safeguards or just promote it all together as the risk is deemed to be too high right now.

On Friday, we saw Facebook’s parent firm mention that minors are not going to be exposed to such types of explicit content while they’re on the Horizon World but that reassurance just is not good enough, experts feel.

But the company urges that this is just the start as it really does hope to put in the right guardrails in a place like tools and protective measures to only those things that are age appropriate are allowed for much younger audiences.

The firm’s spokesperson even told media outlets recently how its Quest Headsets were designed for those who are 13 and above. Therefore, they’re encouraging parents and respective guardians to get active and use the tools for parental supervision in place, including complete management of access to the leading app for the most secure online experience.

As we speak, users that are as young as 15 already appear on Horizon Worlds and they’re constantly exposed to racism and misogynistic language. Similarly, a recent study by CCDH outlined the dangers of harmful content in Meta's flagship VR product.

The authors of the research mentioned at least 100 different interactions from Horizon Worlds’ most populated areas and they found minors occupying around 66 of those VR spaces. One interaction was taken from a virtual courtroom where users noticed a person donning a Black avatar being called out for being black and hence should be sentenced to death if he doesn’t leave.

Clearly, such reports are alarming for obvious reasons and it’s high time Meta take notice because it has already lost billions in trying to lead such virtual spaces.

Read next: Meta Brings Users’ Doodles To Life With New AI Collaboration That Generates Animations
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