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This content will become publicly available on October 1, 2024

Title: “We Don’t Want a Bird Cage, We Want Guardrails”: Understanding & Designing for Preventing Interpersonal Harm in Social VR through the Lens of Consent
As social Virtual Reality (VR) grows in prevalence, new possibilities for embodied and immersive social interaction emerge, including varied forms of interpersonal harm. Yet, challenges remain regarding defining, identifying, and mitigating said harm in social VR. In this paper, we take an alternative approach to understanding and designing solutions for interpersonal harm in social VR through the lens of consent, which circumvents the lack of consensus and social norms on what should be defined as harm in social VR and reflects the embodied, immersive, and offline-world-like nature of harm in social VR. Through interviews with 39 social VR users, we offer one of the first empirical explorations on how social VR users understand consent as "boundaries," (re)purpose existing social VR features for practicing consent as "boundary setting," and envision the design of future consent mechanics in social VR to balance protection and interaction expectations to mitigate interpersonal harm as "boundary violations" in social VR. This work makes significant contributions to CSCW and HCI research by (1) uncovering how social VR users craft novel conceptualizations of consent as boundaries and harm as unwanted boundary violations, and (2) providing three foundational principles for designing future consent mechanics in social VR informed by actual social VR users.  more » « less
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Proceedings of the ACM on humancomputer interaction
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Sponsoring Org:
National Science Foundation
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