Are you ready for the metaverse?
Mark Zuckerberg’s latest creation is inescapable. Whether you’re reading the latest news stories or scrolling through social media, it seems like everybody is talking about this innovative concept.
What happens when real life and digital worlds combine? Though we know the metaverse is coming, its actual definition isn’t clear yet. We know it will be a virtual world with exciting VR graphics and features, but for now, we’ll have to wait for a new press release from Zuckerberg and the Meta team.
Regardless of what we know, it’s clear that the metaverse will be a significant part of the internet very soon. As the project is so substantial, it will come with many benefits for users. From increased connectivity to entertainment, we’re set to see the world in a new light.
The influence of the metaverse is bound to be significant. But will it come with any disadvantages? One key area many are worrying about is self-image and body consciousness. With the potential to alter your avatar into your ‘ideal self’, there are worries that the metaverse will cause body image issues in young users. Let’s take a look at the metaverse and its possible complications.
Body image online
Self-image and body consciousness are hot topics. We live in a world where we are constantly connected to streams of images and adverts depicting models’ bodies and the highlights of users’ lives.
Social media platforms and web2 companies have created carefully designed algorithms to show us what’s popular and what we want to see. Young teens are flooded with images of body ideals, leaving them wondering why their body doesn’t mimic their Instagram feeds.
It’s widely known that social media can affect body image in teenagers and adults alike, so is it a good idea to delve into technology headfirst via the metaverse? Allowing younger users to use the VR tech might result in heightened body issue images due to the higher levels of tech immersion.
How will the metaverse affect self-image?
So, we know social media and online advertising affect young people’s body image. The metaverse isn’t social media, though. VR tech is an entirely different form of content, and right now, we have no real idea of how young people will react to this immersive experience.
Here are some potential self-image issues that might accompany the metaverse:
One aspect of the metaverse that we know about is customizable avatars. When you log in to the VR world, you’ll be able to get creative with your character. This is exciting news for players, putting them in the driving seat of the online experience.
However, though this is a fun and creative way to play, there are worries that the customizable avatars will reflect the curated adverts on social media. If you can be anyone online, why would you be yourself? Escapism can be fun for most, but for some, it can be dangerous.
Plus, if the metaverse offers the chance to change every part of your avatar, will younger players opt for unrealistic body standards? An influx of ultra-thin or ripped avatars can’t be good for developing minds.
Another self-image issue that might be born out of the metaverse is a lack of diversity. As we previously mentioned, many players might rush to create super-skinny and perfected avatars, leaving the virtual world very different from real life.
A lack of diversity and body types will leave players with a skewed worldview. Like scrolling on social media, playing in a realm with one body type on show may make users self-conscious about their own bodies.
Playing without breaks is another element of the metaverse that can worsen young people’s self-image. Like other online games and apps, we predict players will spend extended sessions in the metaverse.
Enjoying a game isn’t bad, but spending long periods without exposure to the real world is. Time in VR without frequent breaks will reinforce self-image issues, making players more self-conscious in real life.
We’re super excited about the metaverse and all the tech innovations that will come with it. However, being mindful of your playing sessions and exposure to unrealistic body expectations is essential. A metaverse with a diversity of body types, players and customizations is what we hope to see.