We live in a time of the most accelerated technological change, unlike anything we’ve seen before, with new marvels materializing every day. Today, one of those marvels is virtual reality (VR). Though nascent, VR has the potential to become a major force in entertainment, education, and health care.
What’s unique about VR is the intensity of the experiences it mediates. Research by Common Sense and Jeremy Bailenson, founding director of Stanford University’s Virtual Human Interaction Lab — has found that VR is one of the most intense mediums we’ve encountered.
Their research represents an early step in their efforts to understand its potential impact on children's cognitive, social, and physical well-being, as well as its potential to shape young people’s perspectives.
On the plus side, there's the potential for positive influential interactions with VR characters that encourage empathy and generate enthusiasm for learning. The report also notes that VR can assist kids with pain management and inspire fun, imaginative play.
On the other hand, it’s still unclear what impact VR might have on “still-developing brains and health,” a topic that has remained under debate with non-VR games for decades. Unsurprisingly, researchers are recommending moderation and parental supervision as the solution, particularly for kids under 7.
As virtual reality becomes part of everyday life, Bailenson recommends that people take precautions. 5- to 10-minute increments are recommended for young kids and 20 minutes for older children and young adults.
We at Wavelength continue to follow the guidelines and stay up to date with the insights and research on this subject. Safety is our first priority. All of our content is reviewed by clinicians as well as independent organizations that help parents make smart choices about media and technology for their children.