Are your children interested in Virtual Reality?

Do you know about this technology and understand what it can deliver?

Virtual Reality and Children
So many types of VR headsets. Photo by Samuel Zeller on Unsplash

You may have to have been stuck on a remote island to not know about the advances in Virtual Reality.

You’ll have seen it on the news, or read about the huge steps forward that this technology is taking in medicine, education and construction.

In some cases, it is revolutionising the way we undertake our work and how it can be delivered.

Saving money, time and in some cases, lives.

The consumer market, however, is still in its infancy. After all – how many people do you know who have a VR headset? And out of those, how many are non-gamers?

 

 

 

But the digital revolution is moving fast.

In fact, if you read the latest predictions by PwC you’ll see that the VR sector is predicted to experience the fastest growth rate in the entire entertainment and media sector in the UK.

PwC forecast a growth of a staggering 76% year on year, and the VR sector will be valued at £801 million (€910 million) in 2021. It should be pointed out that at this rate, the UK will also become the largest market for VR in the whole EMEA region – Cineropa, July 2017

These are seriously impressive statistics.

And with the rise of Virtual Arcades and VR games, you can see how these numbers might be reached. Techcrunch explains a little bit more about the opportunities that lie ahead, specifically for Virtual Arcades, here.

I am under no doubt that our children will be putting on headsets with the regularity that they currently snapchat or Instagram.

It may seem far off now, but my Nan still can’t believe that she can send a video or photo through her phone.

I have luckily been working in this industry for a while now, and the wider creative and digital sector a lot longer. So I understand where we are in the evolutionary cycle of this developing technology and how this might impact our daily lives. But more specifically our children’s lives.

I know a lot of parents won’t have this same information at their finger-tips though.

So here are my 3 must-knows when you your child does grab that virtual reality headset.

  1. Content

Do you really know and understand the type of content that your child is about to watch?

If it’s in an Arcade, would you actually even consider this question?

The reason this technology is called ‘immersive’, is because it does just that.

It takes you into another world. The reaction your child might have to a VR story or game could be utterly different to when they engage with the same content through a 2D screen. There are some instances where the content might overwhelm them.

And you need to be prepared for this.

Of course, this won’t be for every piece of content. If they’re looking inside the design of a new house, the emotional and physical reaction will obviously be fairly limited. Other than appreciating the colour of their room perhaps!

But seeing someone’s head chopped off, Game of Thrones style, is a whole different ball game!

Check the content.

Virtual Reality And Children
There are many different VR headsets
  1. Certification

There is currently no certification for content in the UK at the moment.

Unlike the cinema and gaming industry, where there you can clearly tell an age bracket for the content you / your child is about to watch – there are no such guidelines for Virtual Reality. Yet.

This is also the same for standards – there is no legislation around a quality kite mark for VR in the UK either.

There is work being undertaken to address this and organisations such as the BBC, Digital Catapult and the BSI are looking at developing these frameworks as we speak.

As these are rolled out and launched, I am sure there will be a lot of press will coverage to ensure the general public understand the band levels and any stamps of approval, so they are able to make an informed choice.

So keep a look out for this in the news.

  1. After effects

There is a reason that this video of a women on the VR slide at The View FromThe Shard went viral: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rwVYjxjZsZM

The screams are genuine – this lady is experiencing flying down the a slide at great speed! The motion sensors, visuals and audio all combine to create the experience where she feels this is a reality.

Now I don’t know how she felt after the watching the content – a little dizzy probably! But then she would have done if she had done slid down the slide in real life.

You just need to remember that entertainment and games are meant to have an impact on you / your child. The intention is for you to engage deeply with the game or cry at the loss of a loved one in a film or scream as you fall down a slide!

So you need to think about the physical experience that your child is about to undertake too. Although of course, this will vary according to the age of your child. Where they are watching the content and the general theme of the content.

 

Virtual Reality is exciting and the possibilities are endless.

There is a lot of enjoyment to be had from the experiences this technology can provide .

So whilst the global market works out some of the industry regulations and structures – just take note of the above.

And embrace the possibilities!

Let me know if you / your children have tried VR and what your thoughts are about its future – I’d love to know….

 

* If you like talking about Tech and the future – you may also like my new Series:

‘My 5 Tech Wishes’

Have a look here: https://mycircle.org.uk/2017/08/15/5-tech-wishes/