Parliamentarians will be warned that the landmark Online Safety Bill may not currently go far enough to protect from emerging child safety threats posed by online virtual reality communities known as the “metaverse”.
Baroness Kidron, chair of the 5Rights foundation which works to protect children online, has been heavily involved in the development of the Online Safety Bill, and was instrumental in changes to the leglislation that would allow bereaved parents to access their deceased children’s social media data.
Today the crossbench peer will discuss the emerging harms of the metaverse with parliamentarians, inviting them to test out the technology and consider safety risks it could pose to young people at a meeting in the House of Lords.
The Online Safety Bill, which is currently at committee stage in the House of Lords, seeks to legislate for social media companies to take responsibility for harmful and illegal content online, making it safer for users to experience the internet. Proposed measures include tough penalties, such as prison sentences, for social media companies who fail to comply.
However, there is some concern that the Bill may not currently account for evolving technologies such as virtual reality, and that legislation must avoid making a critical oversight by not considering how the metaverse and other immersive technologies affect children and young people.