Have you been harassed in the metaverse? Anthropologist Liudmila Bredikhina, who has a Master’s degree from Geneva University, teamed up with Virtual Girl Nem, a “Japanese VTuber and Metaverse Culture Evangelist” to do a survey on how much social VR users around the world experience harassment. Almost nine hundred people took part in the survey, and the results have been released in a bilingual report (English and Japanese).
The unfortunate but not surprising results are that many people are harassed in the metaverse. 57.8% of people taking the survey said that while using VRChat they personally experienced harassment. Meanwhile, 69% of respondents say they saw someone else being harassed.
Worldwide on VRChat, sexual harassment happened more than other kinds of harassment. Many women said they were harassed simply for being women. If men use a female avatar, their chances of being harassed go up.
In North America, sexual harassment was not the dominate form of harassment. Instead, people were more likely to experience or witness slurs or hate speech.
These harassment experiences spilled over into real life for many people. A little under half of people taking the survey said that the harassment affected their lives. 52.6% chose to act differently in the metaverse as response to harassment. 43% of people decided they would be happier if they played in VR less often, and 18% began using private worlds more to avoid other people.
You can check out the whole report here.
Also, the creators of the survey will be holding a live Question and Answer session on YouTube on November 26th. That will occur at 22:00 Japan Standard Time, if you want to ask questions or just watch. The link to the YouTube page is here.
Do these findings match up with your experiences in virtual reality?
Danica Davidson is the author of the bestselling Manga Art for Beginners with artist Melanie Westin, plus its sequel, Manga Art for Everyone, and the first-of-its-kind manga chalk book Chalk Art Manga, both illustrated by professional Japanese mangaka Rena Saiya. Check out her other comics and books at www.danicadavidson.com.