The Brief: VRChat is an interactive live chat and virtual reality platform.
VRChat users have the option to play with a virtual reality headset or on a desktop computer. It’s has features of both video games and online chat platforms, but is primarily based on social interactions and virtual world building. They can choose avatars from a range of video games, anime, and other fandoms. They can then chat in real time with other users within customizable virtual communities.
The platform is like a more immersive version of The Sims of Second Life. It dubs itself as an inclusive online community that allows people to interact from around the globe in unique ways and even overcome social anxiety. Users can talk to each other via audio that is based on how closely located they are to others within the simulated reality. Games within the game include capture the flag, Battle Discs, bowling, and other user-designed games.
Spread: Twitch, YouTube, And Memes
VRChat is best-known for videos that are later posted to Twitch and YouTube. These videos often show goofy interactions between avatars and/or trolls using the platform to provoke others. Videos document the eclectic chaos of these virtual worlds where memes come to life. YouTubers including PewDiePie have made videos of themselves on VRChat. The Ugandan Knuckles meme was widely proliferated on VRChat when users began using the Sonic character Knuckles as their avatar and acting in ways that were stereotypically Ugandan or African.
What Parents Should Know
Users must be at least eighteen years old to be eligible to use the platform unless they have parental permission, in which case they must be at least 13 years old.
The terms of service for VRChat include guidelines about inappropriate interactions involving things such as pornography and hate speech. However, sexual comments, cursing, and references to violence are common. Like other online chat platforms – places where strangers can interact relatively freely online, there are risks that minors using VRChat can have inappropriate interactions or witness inappropriate things. General internet safety practices can help mitigate such risks.