As more and more children enter the metaverse, concerns about their safety have increased. Children’s Advertising Review Unit (CARU), a US self-regulatory body overseen by BBB National Programs, has taken a proactive approach to addressing these concerns.
CARU has released metaverse guidelines containing ‘guardrails’ for protecting children in the nascent space. This guide is meant to be a valuable resource for companies, providing information on advertising and privacy regulations, as well as best practices for applying them.
The guide focuses on children’s vulnerability as an audience due to their limited knowledge and experience. It provides recommendations and best practices for businesses that create metaverse experiences to ensure compliance with advertising and privacy laws and to encourage responsible online engagement, especially towards children.
Advertising and privacy concerns
One important suggestion is for companies to clearly state what is an ad and what is not, and use words that kids can easily understand such as, ‘This is an Ad.’ In addition to advertising and privacy concerns, the guide also covers potential emotional and physical risks to children, such as cyberbullying, exposure to violence, and misinformation.
Rukiya Bonner, director of CARU says, “Tens of millions of children under age 13 are active in immersive, virtual environments and game spaces, and while children can benefit from such hands-on experiences, they are also subject to unique potential risks and harms.”
While CARU is primarily concerned with children, other government organisations have also expressed concerns about adults in the metaverse and Web3. Dubai recently introduced a Responsible Metaverse Self-Governance Framework that prioritises privacy, transparency, and inclusivity to address metaverse challenges.
You can download CARU’s full metaverse guidelines here.