October of 2021, the company known as Facebook changed its official name to Metaverse, and it seemed like all of a sudden, EVERYONE was talking about this new technology!
What in the world was a metaverse? What is virtual anything, and what did all of this have to do with cryptocurrency, technology, 3D glasses and....NFTs?!?!
The metaverse is a network of 3D virtual worlds focused on social connection. In futurism and science fiction, it is often described as a hypothetical iteration of the Internet as a single, universal virtual world that is facilitated by the use of virtual and augmented reality headsets. Well, at least that how it is defined by Wikipedia.
When one envisions what the Metaverse looks like right now, a picture of people with hand sets and 3D headsets like Oculus come to mind. Behind those headsets, the world that has been, and is being created includes digital land, digital people, and digital things all connected. All of this sounds really cool and amazing! The question arises though, of what about the kids?
The top devices that allow one to fully immerse themselves into a digital world are all recommended for kids ages 13 (the youngest is 12 for one device) and up. It is for good reason too. Older kids are able to perceive the difference between reality and make-believe. That discernment is lacking in kids younger than that due to their brain's devleopmental stage. Kids, especially those 3-8 are learning, and adapting to social construct and establishing their own place and perspective in the real world. They often times mistake make believe for reality and while normally an innocent connection can be detrimental when talking about a virtual immersion.
"Technology can negatively affect children’s developing social skills, relationships, health, and overall ability to focus. With the increased use of technology, children might not be adequately developing their social skills. This can lead to more children being socially awkward, withdrawn, shy, or intimidated by social situations. They might not know how to engage with other children or adults. Developing social skills takes practice, and if technology is often in the way, there are fewer opportunities for kids to develop these skills."- Charles Nectum Associates
However, despite some of the negative aspectes of technology for kids under the age of 12, there are positives as well. The most interesting of which is that children who have been introduced to some type of technology in the presence of others, (playing games with a parent or sibling) tend to fair better socially and academically. -Alan Mozes, Health Day Report
So, will children be apart of the Metaverse? Absolutely. But, it won't look like it does for older kids and adults. The Metaverse built with kids in mind, incorporates functionality that allows real world social interaction. For example, our first augmented reality books "O is for Oshun" and "How Kofi Amero Became the Hero of Amero" are introductions to the Metaverse for kids. The traditional book allows social interaction for the parents, or kids themselves to read the book out loud, and the augmented reality technology allows the child to enter the digital side of the Metaverse with a mobile device. These components are important because the child still sees the real world person, book and device as they incorporate the digital animation.
This is the Metaverse for kids. The safe Metaverse for kids introduces them to augmented reality and virtual reality in a way that it is placed in real world, or incorporates real world spaces. It allows them social interaction in the real world as well.
We are building our corner of the Metaverse for kids at RainbowMe, and we are doing it in the coolest way possible. Thank you all for being along for the ride!