Children’s behavior at metaverses: Interactions, digital identities, and parent’s perceptions

Gema Bonales-Daimiel 1 * , Belén Moreno-Albarracín 2, Ainhoa García-Rivero 3
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1 Complutense University of Madrid, Madrid, SPAIN
2 San José State University, San Jose, CA, USA
3 Universidad Internacional de La Rioja, Logroño, SPAIN
* Corresponding Author
Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, Volume 14, Issue 2, Article No: e202418. https://doi.org/10.30935/ojcmt/14338
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ABSTRACT

Children are considered one of the main user profiles of metaverses, since they get into those digital universes by playing sandbox video games as Fortnite, Minecraft, or Roblox. However, a lack of research focused on the how, why and outcomes of this vulnerable target in metaverses has been noted. This study aims to investigate the behavior of children in the metaverses through their use of video games and the perceptions of their parents, considering them an indirect target. A total of 31 semi-structured interviews were conducted with children aged between six and 12 years old and their parents. Also, a non-participatory observation of five children while they were playing video games in their domestic environments were carried out. Results show that children play sandbox video games to have both online and offline presence, interacting with familiar people and strangers to feel connected to the community. Also, they recognize brands in those universes and the importance of designing avatars. For its part, parents identify some negative outcomes of video games, but their perception is mainly positive, above all in terms of collaboration and participation. A dichotomy between observation findings and parents’ response has been noted, reflecting a need of digital literacy in terms of communication.

CITATION

Bonales-Daimiel, G., Moreno-Albarracín, B., & García-Rivero, A. (2024). Children’s behavior at metaverses: Interactions, digital identities, and parent’s perceptions. Online Journal of Communication and Media Technologies, 14(2), e202418. https://doi.org/10.30935/ojcmt/14338

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