The metaverse is a growing playground for brand engagement, but is it a safe space for children to interact online? According to a survey conducted by Wunderman Thompson Data for Wunderman Thompson Intelligence, kids’ safety is a top concern: 72% of parents who are familiar with the metaverse are worried about their kids’ privacy in the metaverse, and 66% are worried about their kids’ safety. Now, brands are building metaverse worlds dedicated to youngsters to ensure safety and privacy for those who participate.

Lego and Epic Games are partnering to build a metaverse for kids. Announced in April, the duo plan to “come together to build a space in the metaverse that’s fun, entertaining, and made for kids and families,” Epic Games CEO Tim Sweeney said in a public statement. Epic and Lego also stated that they will prioritize children’s safety and privacy, and will “empower children and adults with tools that give them control over their digital experience.”

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Airtopia for kids on Roblox, courtesy of Nike.

Nike built ‘Airtopia’—a kids’ world in the metaverse—in March. The campaign, titled ‘Magic is in the Air,’ was co-created with children and floated above Nikeland in Roblox as part of a promotion aimed at kids for the brand’s Air Max sneaker anniversary. Three kids from the Nike Play Council contributed to virtual affects for the experience: aliens were drawn by Doodle Boy; Nandi Bushell, a viral drummer, contributed to the sound affects; and skateboarder Rayssa Leal inspired the style of movement in the world. This child-centered realm aims to encourage creativity and youthful imagination.

Children in India were able to experience the Nickelodeon Kids’ Choice Awards in Decentraland in March of this year. Viewers were able to attend as avatars while also playing games, riding the Nickelodeon blimp, and playing in slime fountains. The experience was meant to elevate engagement for young viewers through a unified, accessible platform experience.

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Airtopia for kids on Roblox, courtesy of Nike.

Currently, children are finding their way into adult-centered realms, causing concerns amongst parents. The Washington Post recently reported that while Horizon World, Facebook’s Metaverse world, is intended for users 18 and older, children have been known to use their parents’ Oculus VR headsets to interact in the digital world amongst adults. Experts are therefore raising concerns that the virtual realm has no guardrails to protect unsuspecting young gamers from predators online. A spokeswoman for Meta told the Post that the “goal is to make Horizon Worlds and Horizon Venues safe, and we are committed to doing that work.” In March, Meta announced plans to launch new parental supervision features on its virtual reality Quest headset to ensure kids are safe while exploring the metaverse through their devices, reflective of other protective measures on social apps under the Meta umbrella.

Spaces dedicated for children in the metaverse are starting to pop up across existing platforms as concerns grow over the safety and privacy of children in the virtual realm. Expect to see more safe digital spaces created exclusively for children as the metaverse continues to emerge.

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