Insights Virtual Worlds: European Parliament adopts resolution

On 17 January, the European Parliament adopted a report on “Virtual worlds – opportunities, risks and policy implications for the single market.” The report touches on a wide number of issues raised by virtual worlds including the lack of a universally-recognised definition of virtual worlds, the need to assess coverage by existing legislation and to keep such assessment up to date, the need for a high-performing ICT infrastructure, research, investment, skills gaps and the retention of EU talent, promoting entrepreneurship, the potential to increase participation of those with disabilities, identification of users and anonymity, data privacy particularly in respect of biometric data, and the potential effects on the environment both positive and negative.

Parliament highlights that today’s online risks are equally relevant to the development of virtual worlds. These include the proliferation of disinformation, spread of illegal content, digital identity theft, cybercrime, infringement of intellectual property rights, cyberterrorism, misuse of personal data, manipulative behavioural or addictive design, fraud, online terrorist content, sexual abuse of minors, and cyberbullying. With respect to children, in particular, Parliament considers that particular attention should be given to addictive design and dark patterns and warns of potential health issues such as cybersickness and sleep disturbance, underscoring the need for age-appropriate design and parental controls. Virtual worlds have the potential to help minors develop their appetite for learning and engagement can help them develop skills in collaboration, communication, critical thinking, innovation and confidence. However, education is needed to ensure a healthy and balanced lifestyle as is research into the impact of technology on cognitive, physical, psychological and social development.

For more information click here and here.