Learn how to shield customers from harassment in social VR areas


For the continued sequence, Code Phrase, we’re exploring if — and the way — expertise can shield people in opposition to sexual assault and harassment, and the way it can assist and assist survivors.

Think about it’s your first time getting into a social digital actuality expertise. You shortly arrange an avatar, selecting female traits since you establish as feminine. You select an outfit that appears acceptable, and while you’re executed, you spawn into an area. You haven’t any thought the place you might be or who’s round you. As you’re getting your sea legs on this new atmosphere, all the opposite avatars take a look at you and spot that you simply’re completely different. Unusual avatars shortly method you, asking inappropriate questions on your real-life physique; touching and kissing you with out your consent. You attempt blocking them, however you don’t know the way. You take away your headset fearing that you simply don’t belong on this neighborhood.

New worlds, previous issues

The above function play relies on varied accounts of avatar harassment in social VR functions, reported by ladies in recent times. In 2016, Taylor Lorenz, a employees tech author at the moment at The Atlantic, garnered consideration from varied social VR start-ups by sharing her expertise in a digital actuality chat room. In an essay for Mic, she describes being greeted with unsolicited “digital kisses” and requested about her real-life physique by a number of customers, noting that she felt ripped from the digital world and transported again to center college.