The Jed Foundation (JED) has revealed a new report concerning young people’s mental health in online spaces. The report entitled, Can the Metaverse Be Good for Youth Mental Health? offers guidance for creating a metaverse ecosystem that promotes mental well-being in young persons.
“Supporting young people’s mental health is fundamental to ensuring safe and inclusive experiences in these emerging spaces,” says Games for Change President Susanna Pollack. “Youth voice was key in our cross-sector approach to creating the research and the list of recommendations.”
JED is a nonprofit organisation that aims to prevent suicide in teens and young adults. The organisation also promotes mental and emotional health.
More youths are dealing with mental health problems
The report finds that mental health problems in youths are on the rise, placing more emphasis on the need to determine the effects of the metaverse on mental health. JED’s report focuses on individuals between the ages of 13 and 24, as people in that age range are more susceptible to the social and psychological effects of metaverse use than older users.
Rebecca Benghiat, President and Chief Operating Officer of JED said, “The U.S. Surgeon General has called on the country to take a ‘safety first’ approach to the online lives of youth. This report answers that call to action. As the time young people spend in these immersive spaces and augmented/virtual reality environments increases, there is greater urgency to understand the interactions between these spaces and their mental health and to provide actionable recommendations.”
Platforms should consider youth rights
JED’s report states that youth’s rights should be considered when designing a metaverse platform and that mental health must be at the forefront of Web3 platforms to avoid harmful effects on young users.
Additionally, JED recommends that caregivers, educators, mental health providers, influencers and youths be equipped with resources for managing and ensuring positive experiences within metaverse platforms. The report is available to download in PDF format from JED’s website.