The appeal of Horizon Worlds comes from the ability to interact with others in a virtual, creatable setting. For young people, they may think the platform provides an easy, accessible, fun way to meet others. This is especially attractive for young people who feel isolated due to factors like real-life bullying, physical limitations or illnesses, mental health issues, or residual emotions from the pandemic and lockdowns.
Fun, escapism, and curiosity are all reasons a young person may want to explore this virtual world. There is a lot of hype surrounding the metaverse, with Ofcom reporting it as the next possible ‘generation of the internet’, with young people primed to be its most avid users. The playful visuals of Horizon Worlds may also remind young people of other games they enjoy. This familiarity could cause a false sense of security, especially when interacting with strangers.
Even the negative press surrounding the platform could result in a young person being tempted to go ‘check it out’ for themselves, either alone or with friends, after hearing that it’s risky, unpredictable, and controversial.
It’s worth noting that young people may be experiencing curiosity and thoughts towards different sexual relationships. They may think Horizon Worlds this is a virtual space where they can ‘safely’ learn about or act on certain feelings or desires, especially if they don’t feel they have somewhere or someone else to discuss this with especially if they don’t feel they have somewhere or someone else to go to have those types of conversations.