Metaverse news on the absence of parental control in the metaverse. Unlike the internet, there are no parental restrictions in the metaverse. The blockchain-based and decentralized metaverse may resemble the Wild West, with a lack of governance that can be intimidating and dangerous for children.
There are many proponents of an open and accessible metaverse, but it is unclear whether the next internet will be child-friendly. How can we protect future generations from the ills of the Internet? Blockchain age restrictions? Or would metaverse restrictions violate Web3’s basic values?
What is the Metaverse?
Metaverse refers to 3D virtual or augmented reality worlds created by large corporations including Meta. Media, gaming, and information technology companies can create, market, and sell the metaverse. This does not sound like the vast, permissionless, unlimited metaverse described in Snow Crash.
The VR metaverse is genuine and significant, but Web3 believes it can only be developed utilizing NFTs, cryptocurrencies, and other decentralized technologies on the blockchain. The future of the metaverse with Web3 technologies is undetermined as of 2023. Thus, anticipating future events is difficult. Whether or not minors can access the metaverse depends on whether or not it is open, untrustworthy, and decentralized, or if it is governed by large corporations.
Are metaverse parental controls possible?
Parental controls are possible on streaming services, game consoles, mobile devices, and desktop computers to block content and monitor activity. These gadgets have provided adult guardians with peace of mind since 1994.
Parental controls can prevent 13-year-olds from accessing adult applications and websites, but they are only as effective as the underlying technology. Could strong metaverse parental controls be implemented?
True and no. If the metaverse consists of 3D virtual worlds, any VR headset or gaming system may be restricted by manufacturer features or third-party software. Despite advancing technology, hardware will likely remain the same. The VR Murderville Strip Club (not real) in the metaverse has no age restriction, but parents can block their children’s hardware to prevent admission.
How can parents restrict their children’s access to Web3’s metaverse? Artists sell non-fungible tokens, collectors trade crypto-art, and fraudsters attempt to resell one of the two. There is “real” money at stake in this metaverse (or both). Communities on Web3 can also be toxic.
This necessitates considerable thought. First, parents can ban OpenSea, Rarible, Magic Eden, Nifty Gateway, and other websites. It is a partial fix. Second, youngsters may not have bank accounts, so they cannot purchase or sell cryptocurrencies. Setting a parental block on Rainbow or MetaMask would not prevent bitcoin from being sent to a minor’s wallet.
But suppose it fails. Kids can circumvent parental controls. A child may have a hidden digital wallet on their phone. Perhaps they are playing blockchain-powered, all-ages games such as Somnium Space, The Sandbox, and Decentraland in school. If they are proficient, perhaps they are minting NFTs at the contract level or utilizing swap/trading applications to circumvent their parents’ primary markets. This extreme situation extends beyond stealing the child’s virtual reality headset. The permissionless and decentralized structure of the blockchain renders guardians powerless.
Are age restrictions against Web3 values?
Parental controls or age restrictions would need some skill in the decentralized metaverse. Almost everyone has access to a software wallet and Wyre or MoonPay for credit card crypto purchases (perhaps not even their own). As more Web3 brands seek widespread adoption, the NFT environment and interoperable metaverse become more accessible.
Suppose a company releases an app restricted to children or one that prohibits computer and device access to all Web3 and NFT sites and platforms. Parents may win with ease. Nonetheless, numerous difficulties remain. First, baddies may join a kid-friendly metaverse. In addition, it is improbable that a system would exist that would filter out only explicit areas of Web3 (CryptoDickButts, skill games/gambling, nude NFTs, etc.) while allowing minors access to others. Human effort is required to detect content and employ subjective qualitative metrics. Given the expansion of the NFT business and the proliferation of blockchains and hosting services in the metaverse, this appears unfeasible for any Web3 startup.
Even if this service existed, it would contrast with Web3’s ideals and ethos. Because blockchain communities are passionate about decentralization. Although this may only apply to decentralized money, Web3’s idealistic developers have long ridiculed the limits of the legacy financial, technological, and artistic industries.
This is especially true given the numerous legal obstacles that blockchain technology has faced over the past year. The NFT industry applauded the arrest of Sam Bankman-Fried following the devastating collapse of FTX, but SEC investigations of large projects and reputable crypto exchanges have caused many to dread draconian legislation.
Would Web3 accept parental controls, age restrictions, and other stringent content-blocking measures? Unlikely. This adheres to blockchain community standards. They oppose centralized authority. The moral dilemma of shielding children from the unconquerable “ick” online and (in certain forms) on-chain is personal; consequently, Web3 may not be able to reach a consensus.
Numerous research has shown that social media specifically hurts youngsters. The metaverse could exacerbate depression, self-harm, and other mental health issues on Instagram. This has not been examined, watched, or quantified on a large scale.
Nonetheless, the advantages are numerous. The metaverse may offer fascinating learning, new opportunities to acquire social skills, and an opportunity for parents and children to bond over the future’s exciting possibilities.
Morality and ethics dictate whether or not children should be allowed to enter the metaverse. Parents and guardians always decide what is best for their children. Although “all or nothing” seems to be the only method to enforce parental norms in the metaverse, education may be the most effective strategy to keep children safe. If the metaverse is near, it will be necessary to teach the future generation how to avoid fraud, utilize the blockchain, and secure their wallets.
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