Concerns about the effects of the metaverse on mental health are growing among experts.
As tech giants continue to build their metaverse platforms, many questions are being raised about the future of our brain.
Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has long spoken about his plans for a “metaverse” – a virtual world that includes gaming, social media, augmented reality and cryptocurrency.
“The Metaverse is the next evolution of social networking,” Meta writes on a webpage that also hosts a 13-part audio series detailing Zuckerberg’s vision of the digital space.
It appears that this “evolution” is already here, with companies like Microsoft, Apple, and Nvidia already laying the groundwork for decentralized virtual spaces.
Experts are now seriously considering how Zuckerberg’s future plans will affect the mental health of individuals, some of whom are already immersed in the online world.
There is a debate among experts
In the past, technology and mental health experts were concerned about most new technologies and their impact on our lives.
Today, many experts say these concerns are unfounded because factors such as genes and socioeconomic status are more important to a person’s well-being, according to the Wall Street Journal.
They argue that the metaverse, too, will seamlessly integrate into our lives.
However, others disagree, saying that the metaverse concept is not only groundbreaking but an uncharted territory that is sure to present challenges.
The debate is far from over, but that’s what some experts are now saying.
Science has concrete evidence linking excessive use of digital technology to many mental health issues, such as depression, psychosis, and paranoid thoughts, according to a peer-reviewed article in Psychology Today.
Spending a lot of time in a digital environment can also make a person prefer virtual spaces over real things.
said Rachel Coyert, Director of Research at Take. It is a non-profit organization focused on mental health in the video game community. The Wall Street Journal.
Likewise, Jeremy Belenson, founding director of the Virtual Human Interaction Laboratory at Stanford University, noted that there can be challenges when people spend so much time “in a world where everyone is perfect, beautiful, and perfect.”
The question shouldn’t be how much time people spend on metaverses, said Nick Allen, a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon.
Instead, he says it’s important to determine whether time spent in the Metaverse helps or hinders mental health.
“A young person who might be LGBT and find a context online where they can feel socially supported — we would expect it to be good for their mental health,” Allen said.
“On the other hand, if the use of metaverse technologies replaces offline behaviors that are healthy and supportive of mental health, such as appropriate exercise, participation in real-life relationships, healthy sleep, and time spent in natural environments, then they can be harmful.”
Many experts believe that the metaverse can have a positive effect on people, that is, when used in a healthy way.
Dr Daria Koss, Head of the Cyber Psychology Research Group at Nottingham Trent University, told The Stunned: “We know that certain forms of psychotherapy, including virtual reality exposure therapy, can be great tools to help people with different types of therapy. of terror.”
Mental health issues such as depression, psychosis, substance abuse, eating disorders, and PTSD can be treated with Metaverse’ by progressive exposure. [people] to stimulation, fear, or trauma in a safe place (such as a virtual environment),” Dr. Koss added.
Anna Bailey, a doctoral candidate at York University who researches cultures of mental health on social media, echoed Dr. Koss’ sentiments.
“The interactive nature of metaverse could offer a different field of online therapy, which could lead to improved access to therapy for people with disabilities with a better, more authentic experience.”
However, she also noted that the metaverse “is likely to further divide people in their access to technology and therapeutic support.”
“Getting mental health treatment right away in the metaverse will likely benefit people who already have access to it.”
Peter Eichl, professor of psychology and science communication at Bath Spa, told The Wall Street Journal that he believes the metaverse could be “a tremendous force for good in terms of keeping us connected” if it is ethically developed.
While he acknowledges that things can go wrong, he believes we might miss out on a “tremendous opportunity” if we only focus on the negatives.
This story originally appeared on The Sun and is reproduced here with permission.