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Safeguarding Children in the Metaverse: Insights and Recommendations from the VIRRAC Project

Insights and Recommendations from the Virtual Reality Risks Against Childre (VIRRAC) Project

As a dedicated researcher and advocate for child safety in digital spaces, I am pleased to share insights from the groundbreaking VIRRAC project, which aims to address the unique challenges faced by children in the Metaverse. In this blog post, I will provide an in-depth exploration of our findings, recommendations, and the impact of our work on promoting online safety for young users.

Understanding the Landscape:

The Metaverse, with its immersive virtual environments and interactive experiences, holds immense potential for children's cognitive, social, and emotional development. However, alongside these benefits, it also presents significant risks, including poor mental wellbeing and increased vulnerability to exploitation. Our research has shed light on the prevalence of challenges such as grooming, cyberbullying, and exposure to harmful content, particularly on popular 2D platforms like Roblox.

Insights from Focus Groups:

To gain a deeper understanding of children's experiences and concerns in the Metaverse, we conducted focus groups with participants ranging from young children to adolescents. Through these sessions, we discovered a wealth of insights into their online interactions, safety practices, and perceptions of risk. It became evident that children are acutely aware of the potential dangers lurking in digital spaces and expressed a strong desire for guidance, support, and enhanced safety features to navigate these challenges effectively.

Expert Perspectives:

In addition to gathering insights from children and young people, we engaged with experts in fields such as child psychology, criminology, and digital safety. These experts provided invaluable perspectives on the unique risks posed by the Metaverse, including virtual assault incidents and the heightened vulnerabilities of neurodiverse children. Key recommendations from experts included the need for robust age verification measures, parental involvement, and industry-wide safety protocols to protect young users from harm.

The Role of Industry:

Our research underscored the critical role of tech companies in ensuring the safety and wellbeing of children in digital environments. While many platforms have implemented safety features, there remains a pressing need for continuous innovation and improvement. We emphasized the importance of safety by design, urging companies to invest in evidence-based solutions, user-friendly interfaces, and transparent reporting mechanisms to empower users and mitigate risks effectively.

Outputs and Recommendations:

The culmination of our 18-month partnership is the VIRRAC Toolkit Report, a comprehensive resource designed to equip practitioners, policymakers, and parents with the knowledge and tools needed to safeguard children in the Metaverse. The report includes a thorough review of existing literature, methodological insights, and emerging findings from our research studies. Additionally, we have developed a range of tangible tools and educational resources, including a video series and interactive materials, to promote online safety and digital citizenship among young users.

Looking Ahead:

As we look to the future, our recommendations aim to guide further research, policy development, and industry initiatives in creating a safer online environment for children. We advocate for greater integration of children's voices in decision-making processes, expanded legislative frameworks to address emerging threats, and increased investment in cross-sector collaboration and public awareness campaigns.


In conclusion, the VIRRAC project represents a significant step forward in our collective efforts to safeguard children in the Metaverse. By leveraging insights from focus groups, expert consultations, and rigorous research methodologies, we have developed a comprehensive toolkit to address the complex challenges of digital safety. Moving forward, we remain committed to our mission of empowering children, parents, and practitioners with the knowledge and resources needed to navigate the digital landscape safely and responsibly.

Stay tuned for the release of the VIRRAC Toolkit and join us in our ongoing quest to protect children in the digital age.