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  • Tech Journalist

A child flag system is required to safeguard teens against AR/VR 

The world is witnessing a revolution in augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) technology. Yet, amidst the inspiring innovation and experiences lies a pressing concern: how do we ensure safe access, especially for our youngest users? 

A recent report released by a prominent technology think tank based in Washington, unveiled a compelling argument for the implementation of a robust system aimed at identifying minors attempting to access age-restricted augmented and virtual reality (AR/VR) content across online platforms and devices. 

This proposed system advocates for legislative intervention, urging Congress to mandate device manufacturers and online platforms hosting age-restricted content to integrate a mechanism that assumes users are adults by default unless specifically marked as children. 

This approach not only enhances safety measures but also offers a degree of flexibility, granting parents the autonomy to designate certain devices as solely intended for their children's use.

This "child flag" system represents a less intrusive alternative to traditional ID-based age verification methods, which often raise concerns regarding privacy infringement and potential limitations on free speech. 

Industry experts warn against the pitfalls of solely relying on ID-based verification. Ross Rubin, principal analyst at Reticle Research, cautions that such mandates may encounter resistance from manufacturers and could prove ineffective without robust enforcement mechanisms in place. Mark N. Vena, president of SmartTech Research, advocates for self-regulation within the AR/VR industry as a proactive approach to managing content and mitigating potential risks.

Building upon this foundation our attention should also be drawn to the unique vulnerabilities of adolescents in the digital realm and stresses the importance of implementing robust safety measures to protect them from potential harm. Additionally,  there are concerns raised about the of existing worsening negative digital behaviors by AR/VR devices, emphasizing the need for preventions to promote responsible usage.

This report serves as a important information for stakeholders across the AR/VR ecosystem to prioritize the development and implementation of proactive safety measures aimed at safeguarding users, particularly minors, from potential risks associated with this transformative technology. By joining collaboration between industry players, policymakers, and advocacy groups, we can pave the way for a safer digital future.


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