Can the Metaverse Be Good for Youth Mental Health? Youth-Centered Strategies for Ensuring and Enhancing the Mental Health and Safety of Young People in the Metaverse

Can the Metaverse Be Good for Youth Mental Health? The Jed Foundation Report - Cover Art

The U.S. Surgeon General has called on the country to take a ‘safety first’ approach to the online lives of youth. This report answers that call to action. 

As the time young people spend in these immersive spaces and augmented/virtual reality environments increases, there is greater urgency to understand the interactions between these spaces and their mental health.

Grounded in a robust literature review and the deep engagement of an interdisciplinary Advisory Board of experts and a diverse cross-section of young people, the report provides actionable guidance for stakeholders in fostering a metaverse ecosystem that centers the rights and well-being of youth.


We are grateful for the deep collaboration and partnership among so many remarkable groups and individuals that made this project possible. First, we are thankful to the members of the project team, including the JED team and our partners at Raising Good Gamers. 

We appreciate Katie Salen Tekinbaş and the Connected Learning Lab for the extensive literature review and findings that provided the critical underpinning to this work. The literature review was conducted by Katie Salen Tekinbaş, Madison E. Taylor, and Andre Adame, with contributions by Stephen Schueller and F. Ria Khan.

We are grateful for the time and energy of each of the members of our Advisory Board, who spent careful time and attention in community with each other, providing guidance and expert advice that carefully shaped each of the recommendations. 

Our deepest thanks to the Youth Advisory Group participants whose voice, feedback, and recommendations were critical to our ability to center the rights of youth.

This report was generously funded by the Morgan Stanley Alliance for Children’s Mental Health.

About The Jed Foundation (JED)

JED is a nonprofit that protects emotional health and prevents suicide for our nation’s teens and young adults. We’re partnering with high schools and colleges to strengthen their mental health, substance misuse, and suicide prevention programs and systems. We’re equipping teens and young adults with the skills and knowledge to help themselves and each other. We’re encouraging community awareness, understanding, and action for young adult mental health.
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About Raising Good Gamers (RGG)

RGG was founded by Games for Change and the Connected Learning Lab at the University of California, Irvine in 2020. Now, in partnership between Take This and Games for Change, the initiative aims to create a sustainable movement that can change the culture of online gaming for everyone. Working with a cross-sector community including designers, technologists, activists, researchers, funders, academics, parents, educators, and youth, RGG focuses on how we can develop and support gaming communities that cultivate empathetic, compassionate, and civically engaged kids.

About Connected Learning Labs at the University of California, Irvine

The Connected Learning Lab at the University of California, Irvine, is an interdisciplinary research institute dedicated to studying, designing, and mobilizing digital technology in youth-centered and equitable ways.

Metaverse Interdisciplinary Advisory Board Participants

  • Sun Joo (Grace) Ahn, PhD, Founding Director of the Games and Virtual Environments Lab of the Grady College of Journalism and Mass Communication, University of Georgia
  • Monica Ann Arrambide, CEO and Founder, Maven Youth
  • Jeremy Bailenson, PhD, Courtesy Professor of Education and Program in Symbolic Systems, Stanford Graduate School of Education
  • Jakki Bailey, PhD, Assistant Professor, University of Texas, Austin
  • Rebecca Benghiat, JD, President and Chief Operating Officer, The Jed Foundation
  • Eve Crevoshay, Executive Director, Take This
  • Mark DeLoura, Games and Education Technology Consultant, Level Up Games
  • Tanya DePass, Founder and Director, I Need Diverse Games
  • Ashley Elliott, PsyD, Owner and Lead Consultant, Vivid Innovations Consulting, LLC 
  • Laura Erickson-Schroth, MD, MA, Chief Medical Officer, The Jed Foundation
  • Carlos Figueiredo, Director of Player Safety, Minecraft; Executive Director and Co-founder, Fair Play Alliance
  • Kishonna L. Gray, PhD, Associate Professor in Writing, Rhetoric, and Digital Studies, University of Kentucky
  • Weszt Hart, Head of Player Dynamics, Riot Games
  • Celia Hodent, PhD, Founder, Ethical Games
  • Jennie Ito, PhD, Senior Product Policy Manager, Roblox
  • Jay Justice, editor, game developer, consultant, and cosplayer from New York City
  • Daniel Kelley, MFA, Director of Strategy and Operations, Center for Technology and Society at the Anti-Defamation League
  • David Kleeman, Senior Vice President of Global Trends, Dubit
  • Raph Koster, MFA, CEO, Playable Worlds
  • Rachel Kowert, PhD, Research Director, Take This
  • Amanda Lenhart, Head of Research, Common Sense Media
  • Remy Malan, Vice President of Public Affairs and Chief Privacy Officer, Roblox
  • Michael P. Milham, MD, PhD, Vice President and Director of Research, Child Mind Institute
  • Alex Newhouse, MA, MS, Senior Research Fellow of the Center on Terrorism, Extremism, and Counterterrorism; Middlebury Institute of International Studies at Monterey
  • Brian Nowak, Managing Director, U.S. Internet Research, Morgan Stanley
  • Mike Pappas, CEO and Co-founder, Modulate
  • Susanna Pollack, President, Games for Change
  • Michael Preston, PhD, Senior Vice President and Executive Director, Joan Ganz Cooney Center, Sesame Workshop
  • Stephen Schueller, PhD, Executive Director, One Mind PsyberGuide
  • Petr Slovak, PhD, Senior Lecturer in Human Computer Interaction and UKRI Future Leaders Fellow at the Department of Informatics, King’s College, London
  • Jessica Stone, PhD, RPT-S, clinical psychologist and mental health virtual reality specialist; Co-creator, CEO, and CPO, Virtual Sandtray, LLC
  • Tiera Tanksley, PhD, Assistant Professor of Diversity, Equity, and Justice in Education, University of Colorado, Boulder
  • Katie Salen Tekinbaş, Professor of Informatics, University of California, Irvine, Connected Learning Lab; Organizer, Raising Good Gamers
  • Dawn Thomsen, Senior Vice President of Youth Strategies and Chief Engagement Officer, The Jed Foundation 
  • Rachelle Vallon, Middle School Guidance Counselor and Wellness Coordinator, Quest to Learn
  • Janis Whitlock, PhD, MPH, psychologist, Emerita Research Scientist, Cornell University; Senior Advisor, The Jed Foundation
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