How the Metaverse may change the way separated parents spend time with their children.

We have all had to adjust to a very different way of life since the pandemic hit and the world has learnt to embrace a more “remote” approach to our day-to-day existence. Here, Nicola Bradley looks at the role the metaverse could play in the time parents can spend with their children.

Whilst most of our daily lives are now continuing as they were pre-pandemic; our tech giants have not lost their enthusiasm for expanding our virtual world. Earlier this year, Mark Zuckerburg announced the creation of a new remote platform that he promises will be revolutionary and life changing for us all. That platform is the Metaverse. Whilst video calls over skype, WhatsApp and Zoom are a widely and commonly used way of separated parents connecting with their children, the Metaverse promises to take this one-dimensional way of interacting and turn it on its head. It sounds fascinating but the question is, will the Metaverse actually change the way parents approach arrangements for spending time with their children, and can this new platform ever be a real (or even preferred) alternative to face to face time in “the real world”.

The Metaverse may sound mysterious but in reality, it is simply the internet but in 3D. It is a virtual reality world parallel to the physical one we all live in and will become home to digital avatars of yourself, your family, work colleagues and friends.  For a parent that lives in a different country to the children and perhaps only see their children face to face a handful of times each year, this could be a really wonderful way of connecting with their little ones. Mark Zuckerberg’s “Quest Pro” virtual reality headset merges digital content with your real life surroundings, which could truly transform parenting from a distance and raise the quality of indirect contact in a way we have not imagined to be possible until now.

The Metaverse is not yet up and running however and still in the embryonic stages of existence with some worrying issues that would need to be ironed out before it could ever be considered and safe and secure platform of communication between parents and children. Meta (formerly Facebook) currently has one virtual reality world known as Horizon, and Horizon has already come under criticism for reports of avatars behaving violently. The internet is a difficult place to manage for children at the best of times and this new platform of communication certainly raises key issues regarding the safety of children online and how parents will be able to manage that.

Modern families do need modern ways of spending time with each other, but the fast development of communication technology can be both a blessing and a curse. Should the vision for the Metaverse be realised, virtual reality is likely to become a heavy feature in our everyday lives and it will doubtless be used by parents as a means to play, engage and spend time with their children. It could be no replacement, however, for going on real life adventures and a cuddle at night time when putting your children to bed. The development of the Metaverse will certainly be interesting to watch, but its replacement for face-to-face relationships remains unconvincing.


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