Fortunately, mental health is becoming more and more relevant and a topic that is being explored more and more. For this reason, experts have examined how Zuckerberg’s plans for the metaverse can affect individuals.
Opinions are not unanimous and the debate is whether this influence will be positive or negative.
As we know, Metaverse is intended to be a parallel virtual world to the one we live in – in fact, Meta describes it as “the next development of social relationships”. Therefore, if mental health is already an issue in the latter, experts have discussed its impact on this new reality, which has been developed by several technology companies, such as Microsoft, Nvidia and Apple.
Although the meta-verse seems like a whole new idea, the truth is that there are those who believe that it already exists, especially in the gaming industry. Therefore, experts have examined the impact that Zuckerberg’s plans for the meta-verse will have on the health of mental individuals, given that some are already fully committed to the online world.
While there are experts who believe that Metaverse will be integrated into people’s lives in a natural way, others argue that the concept is both groundbreaking and misunderstood, so it may present some challenges.
Experts disagreed about the impact of metaverse on mental health
For now, according to an article published in Psychology Today, there is scientific evidence that excessive use of technology is associated with various mental health problems, such as depression and paranoia, for example. Moreover, spending a lot of time on the digital can lead to a preference for this world over reality.
For Rachel Kowert, research director at Take This, a nonprofit organization focusing on the mental health of the video game community, this preference can “negatively affect our ability to engage in a non-virtual life, whether it’s self-confidence or belonging.” , or social anxiety ”. Similarly, Jeremy Bailenson, founder of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford University, believes that there can be challenges when spending too much time “in a world where everyone is just perfect, beautiful, and ideal.”
In turn, Nick Allen, a professor of psychology at the University of Oregon, argues that the question should not be how much time is spent in the metaverse, but rather whether the time, whatever it is, has a positive or negative impact on individuals’ mental health.
A young person who may be LGBT and find a context online where they can feel social support – we anticipate that this would benefit their mental health.
On the other hand, if the use of metaverse technologies replaces non-online behaviors that are healthy and support mental health, such as proper exercise, commitment to right relationships, healthy sleep, time spent in natural environments, then they can be harmful. .
In fact, experts raise several questions and build several scenarios to understand the possible impact of the metaverse on users’ mental health.
For example, Daria Kuss, head of the research group for cyber psychology at Nottingham Trent University, notes that “we know that certain forms of psychotherapy, namely virtual reality exposure therapy, can be fantastic tools to help people with various phobias”. . According to him, problems such as depression, psychosis, substance abuse, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder can be treated in the metaverse. In fact, it allows individuals to encounter a stimulus, in a safe and controlled space and gradually.
Like Kuss, other experts believe that the meta-verse can act as a liberating agent that positively affects mental health. More than that, Peter Etchells, professor of psychology and science communication at the University of Bath Spa, reminds us that the meta-verse can be “an enormous force for good” in the sense that it keeps people connected if explored ethically.
In the future, and with the development of the metaverse, specialists will have the opportunity to study its real impact and realize how it can harm or benefit individuals’ mental health.