Nina Jane Patel, 43, had a bad experience in the metaverse while testing the virtual reality platform in November last year. Male avatars harassed her mere seconds after joining, she explained in an article she posted on the Medium site. The 40-year-old American was a beta tester on Meta’s virtual reality platform, Horizon Worlds. She explained that she was “verbally and sexually harassed by three or four male avatars, with male voices within 60 seconds of joining.”

Nina Jane Patel says the avatars shouted ‘don’t pretend you don’t like’ while taking photos as she tried to run away. To stop any interaction, a security barrier exists, but things happened so fast that she didn’t have time to think about using it. Nina Jane Patel told the New York Post that “harassment in the metaverse is a serious issue that the industry will need to address in order to put in place controls and security measures”.

It felt like she was actually being mugged

The danger of such an experience is that it is larger than life, explains Nina Jane Patel. “Virtual reality was essentially designed so that the mind and body cannot differentiate between virtual/digital experiences and realities,” she wrote on Medium. “To some extent, my physiological and psychological response was similar to if it had happened in real life,” she continues.

This horrible experience was traumatic for her who is an adult. She is especially worried about the effects of such an experience on the youngest. “The inevitable shift to the metaverse now raises new concerns if not properly regulated and controlled for this impressionable age group,” she told the New York Post.

Virtual Reality © Pixabay

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Lara T.
Lara T.

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