I recently had a personal experience that sensitized me to the issue of bullying in the metaverse. My son is a big fan of the game RecRoom, a metaverse platform where users can play together as avatars. So that my son could play together with a friend, I had set up a second account on the meta quest that belongs to my partner. That's why I appeared as a female avatar in the world of Rec Room.
When I put on the glasses and entered the world of RecRoom, I was immediately surrounded by a group of teenagers. They made misogynistic comments at me and used a champagne bottle that was standing around in the game world to make sexual gestures.
I was angry and quite helpless. I had no idea how insulting and humiliating this behavior could be, even for me as a grown man. I reflexively pulled my glasses off my head and left the application. I don't even want to imagine what a young girl could experience in Metaverse.
A good friend, who is a big fan of all metaverse experiences, confirmed to me that she has also been repeatedly stalked in the metaverse. However, she knows how to deal with it.
Bullying and mobbing are just as much of a problem in the metaverse as they are in the real world. In virtual worlds, however, perpetrators can attack their victims in an even more targeted and hurtful way, as they can hide behind an avatar.
Virtual worlds promise their users absolute freedom of development. Many metaverse apps propagate the concept of users managing themselves without a central authority to ensure order. This concept is used in the context of the metaverse Decentralization and is one of the basic concepts of many metaverse masterminds. However, absolute freedom can also quickly become a problem.
In the past, the problem of preventing anti-social and criminal behavior has also become apparent on the Second Life platform. Second Life enjoyed great popularity around 2015 and is considered in many ways to be the forerunner of metaverse platforms as they exist today. However, scandals involving criminal behavior by Second Life users led to a drastic loss of image. Today, the Second Life platform still exists, but has lost a lot of its user numbers and relevance. What happened? Initially, an FBI investigation led to the closure of Inworld casinos. Some media reports suggested that Second Life may have been used as a training ground for terrorists. There were also Reports that in an area of Second Life called "Wonderland", users using avatars of children offered virtual prostitution in a room modeled after a children's playground. There were also reports that these activities were known to the management of Second Life, but were deliberately ignored.
Today, we still have the same challenges on Metaverse platforms.
Linguistic bullying is the most common form of bullying in the Metaverse. It includes insults, threats, harassment and hate speech. Perpetrators can attack their victims in chats, voice messages or via social media.
Cyberstalking is a form of stalking that takes place on the internet. Perpetrators follow their victims online and try to intimidate or control them. In the metaverse, perpetrators can pursue their victims by following them, blocking them in virtual spaces or bombarding them with unwanted messages.
Grooming is a form of sexual harassment in which perpetrators target minors and try to force them to perform sexual acts. In the metaverse, perpetrators can target minors by approaching them in virtual spaces or sending them inappropriate messages.
Virtual violence is a form of violence that takes place in virtual worlds. This includes attacks on avatars, the destruction of property or the obstruction of other users. Perpetrators can attack their victims in virtual worlds by attacking them with weapons, destroying their avatars or denying them access to certain areas.
Bullying and mobbing in the metaverse can have serious consequences for the victims. It can lead to anxiety, depression, self-doubt and even suicidal thoughts.
Companies operating in the metaverse must be aware of this challenge and take measures to prevent and combat bullying.
Companies can take a number of measures to prevent bullying in the Metaverse, including:
Measures to combat bullying in the Metaverse
Combating bullying in the metaverse is a challenge, but it is important to ensure that all users of virtual environments are treated safely and respectfully. Many companies operating metaverse platforms are trying to address this problem. However, it is impossible to monitor the behavior of gamers non-stop. Furthermore, who wants to be constantly watched while gaming?
Are you interested in developing a virtual reality or 360° application? You may still have questions about budget and implementation. Feel free to contact me.
I am looking forward to you
Clarence Dadson CEO Design4real