After the scandal that popular kids gaming platform ‘Roblox’ was holding ‘sex condos’ it appears that the Metaverse also has a problem with online dangers.
An investigation from the BBC has revealed that children are able to attend virtual orgies and have had sex toys and condoms brandished at them by adults. The VR avatars are able to get naked and carry out erotic role play, along with some racial slurs and child grooming into the mix.
The metaverse is a network of 3D virtual worlds where people can come together and socialise. It is accessed through VR headsets which are becoming increasingly popular. The report was looking into one of the metaverse’s most popular apps, VRChat, which is recommended for ages 13 and up. However, while there is such a young entry barrier, there is still lots of adult content readily at their fingertips.
Head of online child safety at the NSPCC, Andy Burrows said that; “It’s children being exposed to entirely inappropriate, really incredibly harmful experiences.”
“This is a product that is dangerous by design, because of oversight and neglect. We are seeing products rolled out without any suggestion that safety has been considered,”
He also said that he had spoken to children who have been groomed on the platform and have been forced to take part in virtual sex. As the VR is so immersive, the children have to physically act out the sexual movements in order for them to be performed in the metaverse.
While there is a possibility for people to block and report accounts for inappropriate behaviour, there is the problem that there simply isn’t the staff available to investigate all the reports. As everyone in the metaverse is anonymous, simply using an avatar and a username, there is no one policing the in-game activity allowing anyone to enter the chat and go wild.