Lawmakers in the upper house of Parliament have reached a consensus about safety. The U.K. bill concerning online safety, encompassing provisions aimed at safeguarding children from online harm, shall extend its jurisdiction to encompass the metaverse.
Legislation concerning government oversight and protection of online activity varies from country to country. The initiative is still primarily being developed as adoption grows.
In America, advocacy groups have called on Meta not to allow minors to use the company’s metaverse platform, Horizon Worlds. These organizations have cited the risk of harassment and loss of privacy. The Centre for Countering Digital Hate analyzed 100 visits to the most famous worlds in Horizon Worlds. Their findings revealed that minors face routine harassment.
Lawmakers in the House of Lords of UK emphasized the importance of extending the application of the Online Safety Bill to the metaverse. They consider the potential harm children can encounter in these virtual experiences.
Melanie Dawes, the CEO of Ofcom which is the U.K.’s communications regulator, emphasized the heightened intensity of enjoyment and potential harm in virtual reality experiences. During an event in October, she stated that these experiences offer a high level of immersion. This trait contributes to the increased intensity of pleasure and adverse effects.
Many Parliament members argued that the bill’s applicability should encompass “anything communicated by means of an internet service”. Member Stephen Parkinson of Whitley Bay, England, proposed that this scope could incorporate virtual objects or avatars. Furthermore, it could embody text and images shared by other users.
The Online Safety Bill, introduced on March 17, approaches the final stages of approval before its enactment as a law. The House of Lords has scheduled further deliberations on the UK Online Safety Bill on July 17. The bill is yet to undergo a third reading in the House, where final amendments will be made before it is signed into law.