‘Metaverse’ is a buzzword most kids hear more often than their parents. But what is the metaverse, exactly? If you’ve heard your child talk about a live concert in the Fortnite universe or their avatar in a virtual reality game, they’re already familiar with online worlds and the metaverse.
If you’re not sure what it is, or why people are talking about it, Disney’s ‘Wreck-It Ralph: Ralph Breaks the Internet’ is a great movie to help explain the metaverse so you can discuss it with your kids at home.
What is the metaverse?
The metaverse is simply a digital world where you spend your time. Many experts think of this digital world as a 3D model of the internet where people can interact online in different places and ways through an avatar or digital representation of themselves. Just like in Ralph Breaks the Internet, Ralph and his friends are put into the digital world of the World Wide Web, where they live, interact with other people, and make decisions.
What is the metaverse used for?
People find new ways to use the metaverse all the time. As we move through the 21st century, online gatherings have become more popular. Friends can get together to hang out, go to a concert, or attend a church service. The popular world, Decentraland, is an online world where people can own virtual real estate and build their own online space. Users have built art exhibitions and digital museums you can tour virtually. Some businesses have even used the metaverse to hold meetings for work. Just as Ralph navigates many different places in the World Wide Web, the metaverse has many places to go and things to do.
What parents should know about the metaverse
Parents face new challenges as kids are more active online and access even more advanced technology. Like the range of places Ralph and his friends' visit, digital worlds have a variety of places your child might want to visit. Teach kids how to stay safe by practicing online safety, setting spending controls through a kids debit card, and keeping tabs on the places your kid likes to hang out online. Just like in the physical world, parents want to know who their child is hanging out with and what kids are doing with their time.
How to talk about the metaverse with your kids
Talk to your kids about Wreck-It Ralph and have fun conversations about different ways they can spend time in the virtual world. Explore ideas like virtual currency and physical money and how they change in value. Talk about challenges they might face and ways to stay safe, unlike Ralph, who stumbles into a few hairy situations. Remind kids to take responsibility for their actions even virtually. Spending money with a kids debit card online isn’t free money, and being bullied online is still bullying. Encourage kindness and good decision-making, even from an avatar or behind a computer screen.