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Apple's Vision Pro - A Trojan Horse in Child Digital Safety?

Apple is launching their version of a headset (spatial computer) on 2nd of Feb to the US Market.

Safer Internet Day is on the 6th of Feb.

Apple's Vision Pro - A Trojan Horse in Child Digital Safety?

The launch of Apple's Vision Pro marks a significant milestone in the realm of spatial computing, a development that goes far beyond the scope of a mere headset. This pivotal shift in technology represents a transformative evolution in our interaction with digital content, where users are immersed in three-dimensional digital environments that seamlessly merge the physical and virtual worlds. The Vision Pro, as a trailblazer in this paradigm shift from traditional to spatial computing, unlocks new possibilities for more profound and engaging digital experiences.

However, this marvel of innovation comes with its own set of challenges, especially concerning children and young people. I position myself as a critical voice in this development, challenging the complacency that often accompanies such technological advancements. My recent research, in collaboration with the University of East London and Middlesex University, reveals a concerning scenario about the virtual world's impact on children. The accessibility and immersive nature of devices like the Vision Pro amplify these impacts, potentially exposing our youth to unprecedented dangers in the digital realm. It's a dual narrative of groundbreaking technological progress intertwined with the need for heightened awareness and precaution in the digital safeguarding of our younger generation.

This launch, juxtaposed with Safer Internet Day on February 6th, symbolizes more than a technological breakthrough; it's a foray into a realm fraught with unaddressed dangers. We're confronted with urgent questions:

Does the Vision Pro serve as a cutting-edge tool for our children, or does it open a digital Pandora's box, unleashing untold risks like cyberbullying, online grooming, and a distorted perception of reality?

The Vision Pro, far more than a mere headset, is a pioneer in spatial computing. This shift signifies a transformative evolution in our interaction with digital content. Spatial computing allows users to engage in three-dimensional digital environments, merging the physical and virtual worlds in an immersive and intuitive manner. This paradigm shift from traditional computing to spatial computing, heralded by the Vision Pro, opens doors to deeper and more engaging digital experiences.

However, this technological leap in spatial computing introduces significant challenges in online child safety. The immersive nature of spatial computing blurs the lines between reality and the virtual world, potentially heightening the risks for young users. These emerging threats call for a reevaluation and enhancement of child safety frameworks, like the UK's Age-Appropriate Design Code and Online Safety Act. The unique challenges of spatial computing demand more specialized and robust approaches to safeguard younger users in these novel digital landscapes.

As we commemorate Safer Internet Day in the wake of the Vision Pro's debut, we're reminded of our shared duty to ensure that technological advancements, especially in spatial computing, do not jeopardize the safety and well-being of our children. It's imperative that tech companies, educators, parents, and legislators collaborate to create a digital ecosystem where innovation and child safety coexist harmoniously. The introduction of the Vision Pro isn't just a landmark in technological innovation; it's a critical juncture to reinforce our commitment to protecting the most vulnerable in our rapidly evolving digital world.

Understanding Spatial Computing:

Spatial computing refers to technology that facilitates human interaction with digital environments in three-dimensional space. It merges the physical and digital realms, enabling users to manipulate digital content in a way that mirrors real-life interactions. This technology encompasses augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), sensor technologies, and advanced computing to create immersive experiences where digital and physical realities converge seamlessly.

Spatial Computing vs. The Metaverse and Virtual Reality:

Spatial computing, encompassing a variety of technologies, enables interaction and manipulation of digital content in three-dimensional space, merging physical and digital worlds. It includes VR and extends to AR and mixed reality (MR). VR creates a fully immersive virtual environment, while the metaverse focuses on developing expansive, persistent 3D virtual worlds centered on social connections. Spatial computing technologies, including VR, act as the foundational elements or gateways to the metaverse, providing the means for interaction within these virtual spaces.


Disclosure: As an Embodiment/Movement Psychotherapist, Nina has spent over two decades working at the intersection of mind/body connection, mental health, creativity and technology. As President of Research & Safety for Kabuni and a Doctoral Scholar, Nina Jane Patel is developing methodologies to understand the psychological and physiological effects of immersion, presence and embodiment in the Metaverse.