Teens Aren't Bought Into the Metaverse [Content Made Simple]
Issue #265: Protecting kidfluencers, just chatting, and more.
TOP OF THE WEEK:
If the metaverse is the future of social media, teens aren’t convinced
If the metaverse is the next generation of digital life, it will have to sell itself to the next generation of digital kids. But according to a survey of the Gen Z cohort, many teenagers are skeptical over the idea of a vaguely defined online world, despite the hordes of young people on game platforms like Roblox, Minecraft, and Fortnite.
Half of the 7,100 teens surveyed in financial firm Piper Sandler’s biannual Gen Z research project said they were unsure, or had zero intention, of purchasing a device to access the metaverse, such as a virtual-reality headset. Meanwhile, just 9% said they were interested to the point of making a purchase, and 26% said they already own a device. Of that 26%, only 5% entered the metaverse daily, and 82% less than a few times per month.
I just recorded a podcast this week with a youth minister (hey Mike!) and expressed my skepticism about youth ministries taking the time and energy to establish “ministry in the metaverse.” It’s not that I think the metaverse is some passing fad that will never be relevant—it will be very relevant sooner than most of us think—but I do think it’s a bit early for youth ministries to be building virtual youth groups. And this data supports a bit of my reasoning for why.
HITTING THE LINKS
Link #1: There are no laws protecting kids from being exploited on YouTube — one teen wants to change that
I really love that this is happening. I have such serious concerns about how children may be being exploited by their families for content and revenue.
“Children are generating interest in and revenue for the content, but receive no financial compensation for their participation,” the bill reads. “Unlike in child acting, these children are not playing a part and lack legal protections.”
If passed in the Washington state legislature, the bill would apply to content that generates at least 10 cents per view and has an individual minor featured over 30% of the time. In that case, a percentage of the vlog’s income would be set aside in a trust to be given to the child when they turn 18. At that time, the individual could also request that the content they appear in to be removed from the tech platform.
The popularity of just communal “hanging out” streams on various social media platforms is endlessly fascinating to me.
There are also co-working streams, live feeds of people working at their desks, perfect for filling the space of an apartment you’ve been stuck in for too long. These dutiful streamers will play lo-fi music as they work, essentially turning themselves into real-life versions of the Lofi Girl, representing a ubiquitous form of ambience for current students.
Link #3: Why the Past 10 Years of American Life Have Been Uniquely Stupid
Best article I have read all year, written by the brilliant Jonathan Haidt. Just good at every turn.
This new game encouraged dishonesty and mob dynamics: Users were guided not just by their true preferences but by their past experiences of reward and punishment, and their prediction of how others would react to each new action. One of the engineers at Twitter who had worked on the “Retweet” button later revealed that he regretted his contribution because it had made Twitter a nastier place. As he watched Twitter mobs forming through the use of the new tool, he thought to himself, “We might have just handed a 4-year-old a loaded weapon.”
THE FUNNY PART
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