Technology How to protect users from harassment in social spaces...

How to protect users from harassment in social spaces of virtual reality


For the current series, Code wordWe are exploring if, and how, technology can protect people against sexual assault and harassment, and how it can help and support survivors.

Imagine that it is the first time that you have entered into a virtual virtual reality experience. Quickly set up an avatar, choosing female characteristics because you identify yourself as a woman. You choose an outfit that seems appropriate, and when you finish, you engender in a space. You have no idea where you are or who is around you. As he gets his sea legs in this new environment, all the other avatars look at him and notice that he is different. Strange avatars quickly approach you and ask you inappropriate questions about your real-life body; Touch you and kiss you without your consent. Try blocking them, but don't know how. He takes off his headphones for fear of not belonging to this community.

New worlds, old problems.

The previous role play is based on several avatar harassment accounts in social virtual reality applications, reported by women in recent years. In 2016, Taylor Lorenz, a staff technology writer currently at The Atlantic, attracted the attention of several new virtual reality companies by sharing her experience in a virtual reality chat room. In an essay for Mic, she describes receiving her with unsolicited "virtual kisses" and asking about her real-life body from multiple users, noting that she felt ripped out of the virtual world and transported back to high school .