What do kids want from the metaverse?

Research firm BrandTrends' latest report breaks down which regions seem poised for early adoption, and how kids spend their time in this space.
February 17, 2023

Nearly 78% of American teens are aware of the metaverse, but adoption could be a slow process, according to Dubai-based BrandTrends Group’s latest Kids Digital & Media Lives report. The research firm surveyed more than 200,000 people of all ages in 42 countries about the metaverse in December 2022.

According to the resulting report, tweens in China are the most eager to connect in the metaverse, with 84% reporting that they have experienced the tech already, and 39% looking forward to using it more in the future. By comparison, 71% of American tweens have tried a metaverse experience like Roblox or VR, but only 20% want to expand on that going forward. 

“The difference between the two nations is that China is looking to adopt the metaverse very quickly, while the US is still extremely shy,” says BrandTrends CEO Philippe Guinaudeau. “In China, the technology is being pushed by the local and central political systems…and the audience’s desire to play new video games.”

One of the most surprising takeaways from the research was that kids want to use the metaverse as an educational tool, and not just for gaming and entertainment. “Playing games in the metaverse is about fun and socializing, but there’s also this desire from kids to explore different environments and learn,” says Guinaudeau. “This generation of kids wants to develop knowledge quicker, and become more socially responsible by showing interest in subjects like sustainability.” 

In the US, 18% of survey respondents ages 10 to 14 said that they used the metaverse to learn something. But playing games (45%) and watching movies (30%) were the most popular activities, followed by exploring environments (20%) and connecting with friends (19%). The least popular activities for this age group were buying digital items for their avatar, attending an event, and purchasing an NFT. 

One of the metaverse’s primary challenges will be developing a set of rules that parents and educators can use to support children as they begin to adopt the tech, Guinaudeau says. “The metaverse is the birth of a new world. What are the regulations? Who makes the rules? How do you interact with people? Once you have answered those questions, then the parents and the educators can enter in, because they will have a stronger understanding of the framework.”

Photo courtesy of stem.T4L via Unsplash

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