Experts Predict How Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse Will Change Our Mental Health FOREVER

CONCERNS about the effects of the metaverse on mental health have been growing among experts.

As the tech giants continue to build their metaverse platforms, many questions are being raised about the future of our mental health.

Meta CEO Mark Zuckerberg has long expressed his plans for the “metaverse,” a virtual world comprising games, social media, augmented reality, and cryptocurrencies.

“The metaverse is the next evolution of social connection,” Meta writes on a web page that also hosts a 13-part audio series detailing Zuckerberg’s vision for the digital space.

This ‘evolution’, it seems, is already here, as companies like Microsoft, Apple and Nvidia are already laying the groundwork for decentralized virtual spaces.

Now experts are seriously pondering how Zuckerberg’s plans for the future will affect the mental health of people, some of whom are already heavily embedded in an online world.

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There is debate among experts.

In the past, technology and mental health experts have been concerned with most new technology and how it would affect our lives.

Today, many experts say these apprehensions were unfounded because factors like genetics and socioeconomic position matter more to a person’s well-being, according to The Wall Street Journal.

They argue that the metaverse will also seamlessly integrate into our lives.

However, others disagree, stating that the concept of a metaverse is not only revolutionary territory but uncharted territory that will definitely present some challenges.

The debate is far from over, but here’s what some experts are saying now.

Science has concrete evidence linking excessive use of digital technology to various mental health problems, including depression, psychoticism, and paranoid ideation, according to a peer-reviewed article in Psychology Today.

Spending a lot of time in a digital environment can also make someone prefer virtual spaces to reality.

This can “negatively impact our ability to engage in non-virtual life, whether it be self-confidence, belonging, or social anxiety,” said Rachel Kowert, director of research at Take This, a nonprofit focused on mental health. in the gaming community. Wall Street Journal.

Similarly, Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of the Virtual Human Interaction Laboratory at Stanford University, noted that there can be challenges when people spend a lot of time “in a world where everyone is just perfect and beautiful and ideal.”

Context Matters

Nick Allen, a psychology professor at the University of Oregon, said the question shouldn’t be how long people spend in the metaverse.

Instead, he says it’s more important to look at whether time spent in the metaverse promotes or hinders mental health.

“A young person who may be LGBT and who finds a context online where they can feel a sense of social support, we predict that that would be a benefit to 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 adequate exercise, engaging in real-life relationships, healthy sleep, spending time happens in natural environments, then they can be harmful. »

Many experts believe that the metaverse can have a positive impact on people, that is when used in a healthy way.

Dr. Daria Kuss, head of Nottingham Trent University’s cyberpsychology research group, told Dazed: “We know that particular formats of psychotherapy, particularly virtual reality exposure therapy, can be fantastic tools for help people affected by a variety of phobias.

Mental health issues such as depression, psychosis, addiction, eating disorders, and post-traumatic stress disorder can be addressed using the “gradually exposing” metaverse. [people] to the triggering, feared, or trauma-producing stimulus in a safe space (such as the virtual environment),” added Dr. Kuss.

Anna Bailie, Ph.D. York University candidate who is researching cultures of mental health on social media, she echoed Dr. Kuss’s sentiments.

“The interactive nature of the metaverse could provide a different setting for online therapy to take place, which may even improve access to therapy for disabled people with a better and more realistic experience.”

However, he also noted that the metaverse “will likely further divide people in their access to technology and therapeutic support.”

“Having mental health treatment instantly available in the metaverse will likely benefit people who already have access to it.”

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Experts say that the metaverse can have both negative and positive impacts.

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Peter Etchells, a professor of psychology and science communication at the University of Bath Spa, told the Wall Street Journal that he thinks the metaverse can be a “tremendous force for good in terms of keeping us connected” if it’s developed in an ethical way.

And while he acknowledged that things can go wrong, he believes we could miss a “tremendous opportunity” if we only focus on the negatives.

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Experts Predict How Mark Zuckerberg’s Metaverse Will Change Our Mental Health FOREVER