Experts predict the metaverse will affect our mental health

Fortunately, mental health is becoming more and more relevant and a topic that is being explored more and more. For this reason, experts have explored how Zuckerberg’s plans for the Metaverse might affect individuals.

Opinions are not unanimous and the debate is whether this impact will be positive or negative.

As we know, the Metaverse is meant to be a parallel virtual world to the one we live in – in fact, Meta describes it as the “next evolution of social relationships”. Therefore, if mental health is already an issue in the latter, experts have debated its impact on this new reality developed by various tech companies, such as Microsoft, Nvidia and Apple.

While the metaverse may seem like a completely new idea, the truth is that there are those who think it already exists, especially in the gaming industry. That’s why experts have been studying the impact Zuckerberg’s plans for the metaverse will have on mental health. of individuals, as some are already fully involved in the online world.

While there are experts who believe the Metaverse will integrate naturally into people’s lives, others argue that the concept is both groundbreaking and misunderstood, so it could pose challenges.

Experts divided on the impact of the metaverse on mental health

For now, according to an article published in Psychology Today, there is scientific evidence that technology overuse is associated with several mental health problems, such as depression and paranoia. Moreover, spending a lot of time digitally can be linked to a preference for this world over reality.

For Rachel Kowert, director of research at Take This, a nonprofit that focuses on the mental health of the video game community, this preference “can negatively impact our ability to participate in non-virtual life, whether it’s self-confidence.” or belongs.” or social anxiety”. Along the same lines, Jeremy Bailenson, founder of the Virtual Human Interaction Lab at Stanford University, believes there can be challenges if you spend too much time “in a world where everyone is just perfect, beautiful, and ideal.”

Nick Allen, a psychology professor at the University of Oregon, argues that the question shouldn’t be how much time is spent in the metaverse, but whether that time, whatever it is, has a positive or negative impact on mental health. of individuals.

A young person who may be LGBT and find a context online where they can feel social support – we predict 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 good exercise, engagement in real relationships, healthy sleep, time spent in natural environments, then they can be harmful. †

All explained.

Nick Allen, professor of psychology at the University of Oregon

Indeed, experts are asking different questions and building multiple scenarios to understand the potential impact of the metaverse on users’ mental health.

For example, Daria Kuss, head of the cyberpsychology research group 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”. † In his view, issues such as depression, psychosis, substance abuse, eating disorders and post-traumatic stress disorder can be addressed in the metaverse. Indeed, it allows individuals to face a stimulus, in a safe and controlled space and gradually.

Daria Kuss, Head of the Cyberpsychology Research Group at Nottingham Trent University

Daria Kuss, Head of the Cyberpsychology Research Group at Nottingham Trent University

Like Kuss, other experts believe the metaverse can act as a liberating agent and positively impact mental health. More than that, Peter Etchells, professor of psychology and science communication at the University of Bath Spa, reminds us that the metaverse can be “an enormous force for good” in the sense that it keeps people connected, if ethically examined.

In the future, and with the development of the metaverse, specialists will have the opportunity to study its real impact, realizing how it can harm or benefit the mental health of individuals.

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