UNICEF and Diplo publish report on child safety in the metaverse

1 June 2023

Experts from UNICEF Innocenti, the research and analysis arm of UNICEF, and Diplo have come together to publish the report Rapid Analysis: Metaverse, XR, and Children.

The report examines the potential opportunities and risks associated with emerging technologies, particularly the metaverse and extended reality (XR), and their impact on children’s rights and well-being.

The report presents a comprehensive analysis of the metaverse, XR, and their implications for children. It provides valuable insights into the potential benefits of these technologies, such as enhanced education, creativity, and social interaction. However, it also highlights the risks, including privacy concerns, exacerbation of the digital divide, and potential impact on mental health.

Key findings from the report include:

  • Enhanced Learning: The metaverse and XR have the potential to revolutionise education, providing immersive and interactive learning experiences that cater to individual needs and promote engagement.
  • Creative Expression: Children can explore and express their creativity through the metaverse and XR platforms, allowing them to build, design, and collaborate on innovative projects.
  • Social Interaction: These technologies offer opportunities for children to connect with peers, mentors, and experts from diverse backgrounds, fostering social inclusion and cultural exchange.
  • Privacy Concerns: The report highlights the need for robust safeguards to protect children’s personal information in the metaverse and XR environments, ensuring their digital rights are respected.
  • Digital Divide: Access to the metaverse and XR technologies can exacerbate existing inequalities, necessitating targeted efforts to bridge the digital divide and ensure equitable access for all children, regardless of their socioeconomic backgrounds.
  • Mental Health Considerations: Excessive screen time, virtual isolation, and potential addictive features in the metaverse and XR platforms require proactive measures to protect children’s mental health and well-being.

In this report, UNICEF Innocenti and Diplo Innocenti call upon governments, technology companies, educators, parents, and civil society organisations to collaborate in ensuring that the potential benefits of the metaverse and XR technologies are maximised while minimising risks for children. The report recommends comprehensive policies and regulations, investment in digital literacy programs, and ethical guidelines to protect children’s rights and foster responsible use of these technologies.

To learn more about the report and its findings, please visit the publication page. For media inquiries and interview requests to Diplo experts, please contact: Mr Dylan Paul Farrell | dylanf@diplomacy.edu | +356 21 333 323 (office)