The Limited Times

Now you can see non-English news...

Online sexual harassment? The tips that will help you protect your children Israel today


Cyberbullying Awareness Day is a good opportunity to talk about the dangers inherent in the digital world • An online safety expert explains the dangers, and suggests ways in which you can protect the future generation

A girl is playing in a virtual world in a network game when suddenly a virtual character (avatar) approaches and sexually assaults her.

Does it sound imaginative to you?

So this reality is already with us.

On the occasion of Cyberbullying Awareness Day, Dr. Amir Gordon, a researcher and lecturer on cyberbullying, explains the risks in the new digital age, and provides advice for protecting children in the cyberspace.

• Loneliness and addictions: the plights of youth are revealed

• The Internet Association report: a 3-fold jump in complaints about vulnerabilities in TikTok

Let's start with a basic concept that is important to know.

The term "metaverse" in its current meaning appears for the first time in Neil Stephenson's futuristic book "Avalanche" as a combination of the terms meta (beyond) and universe (universe) - "universe beyond" in free translation, and is used in the context of virtual reality worlds in virtual space.

We are at the beginning of a digital age where we conduct ourselves through avatars.

In Metaverse it will be possible to do (almost) everything - study, work, play, get to know each other, hang out and of course shop.

In order to fully experience the stay in Metaverse as close as possible to the physical world - we will use virtual and augmented reality (VR/AR) glasses, and sometimes we will also wear special clothing accessories such as gloves and vests that can transmit sensations of heat, cold and touch to the body.

A young man uses VR glasses (illustration), photo: AFP.

Colleges and schools will also be established within the metatowers where, in a science class for example, the students will walk inside the blood circulation and see the workings of the heart from the inside.

In history class the students will sit in the hall where the declaration of the state took place, they will see and hear David Ben-Gurion announcing the establishment of the state and will feel that they are present in the hall.

The worlds of the Metaverses are promoted with huge investments by the technology giants and alongside them are many startups that are established these days to provide answers to the various needs and applications, where the main goal is one - to produce an attractive and attractive virtual world that provides a digital answer to as many human needs and desires as possible.

Not everything is rosy in the Metaverse

Along with an abundance of new and fascinating opportunities for learning, social connections, entertainment and enjoyment, the new era also brings with it a host of complex issues, which can amount to risk and harm.

Excessive use of screens, contact with strangers and social-emotional difficulties are examples of issues that bother us in the current internet age, and are expected to intensify.

Meta's augmented reality helmet, photo: PR

Education and protection for the world of virtual reality

In the coming years, the use of avatars and virtual space is expected to increase, and we have to explore and get to know the new environment, and understand what challenges we face, especially in protecting our children in the space.

Experimentation in the worlds of virtual reality takes place in the Ministry of Education, in order to formulate a policy for optimal use of the new environment, and the reduction of risk situations.

We have put together important recommendations for you, which will help you face the challenge.

Learning and experience:

this is a new environment that is unfamiliar to us.

We must learn and get to know it so that we can serve as significant adults for the children who will use it.

Look for opportunities to experience yourself in the Metaverse environment to get to know and better understand what it is all about.

The environments that currently allow a metaverse experience are Fortnite, Minecraft and Roblox.

Ask the children to show it to you.

We were interested from a curious place and not from a critical or judgmental place.



As with any change, it is expected that we will encounter prophecies of anger that will emphasize the concerns and dangers in the virtual reality.

Do not ignore them, but examine them calmly and in the right proportion in relation to future hypotheses.

As parents, we have life experience that allows us to consider things in a balanced way and not get stressed, especially if we have not yet gotten to know and learn the new environments.

Emphasize the positive and serve as a personal example:

from learning and getting to know each other, we will direct the children and ourselves to the positive activities in Metaverse, and there will be many that will promote learning, entertainment and enjoyment.

Just as we recommend a good book or movie to children, we can recommend them the best places in the digital space as well.

Know the risk situations and warn against them:

excessive use of virtual reality glasses, exposure to inappropriate content, contact with strangers, impersonating avatars, violence and bullying - these are some of the risk situations we are likely to encounter.

We must get to know them and guide the children on how to defend themselves, for example by creating a "personal security bubble" that defines a safe space for the avatar.

In order to be able to guide them, we must first be interested and get to know the spaces where they are, so that we can guide them in a relevant way.

Reporting and asking for help:

We will encourage the children to report any situation of discomfort or harm to them or their friends.

We will emphasize the essential difference between whistleblowing, and a report whose entire purpose is to provide assistance to a person in need.

The way we react when they share a negative experience with us online is critical to maintaining an open communication channel and for them to see us as an address to share and turn to for help.

Dr. Amir Gefen, photo: Einat Mayo

Dr. Amir Gefen is a researcher and lecturer in cyber security at the Gordon Academic College of Education

were we wrong

We will fix it!

If you found an error in the article, we would appreciate it if you shared it with us

Source: israelhayom

All life articles on 2023-02-09

You may like

Trends 24h

Life/Entertain 2023-05-27T19:10:29.317Z


© Communities 2019 - Privacy

The information on this site is from external sources that are not under our control.
The inclusion of any links does not necessarily imply a recommendation or endorse the views expressed within them.