Children and Virtual Reality:

Emerging Possibilities and Challenges

Virtual Reality is fast becoming a reality, with estimates that over 200m headsets will have been sold by 2020, and the market value for VR hardware and software reaching well over $20bn. VR is also incredibly appealing to children, but there are concerns around potential health and safety issues, as well as questions concerning the appropriateness of current content for young people.

“Children and Virtual Reality” is a collaboration between Dubit, Turner, WEARVR and the COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology) Action DigiLitEY.

This report includes our latest findings on current VR access and appeal to children (aged 8-12 years old); appropriate VR content for children; our initial health and safety research; and regulatory perspectives from different sources, including PEGI.

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Did you know

Children love VR at every stage: they show excitement pre-use, demonstrate amazement
while using it and can talk about content in detail afterwards.

Children are becoming increasingly aware of VR, with the number in the USA having never heard of it dropping by to half from Autumn 2016 (40%) to Spring 2017 (19%).

In the USA, the number of children who have heard of VR is more than 50% for both age groups (8-10 years and 11-15 years). However, this is far lower in the UK with only 24% of 8-10s and 29% of 11-15 year-olds stating they are familiar with the technology.

Our results suggest that for the majority of children, one 20 minute VR game play will have little impact on their stereoacuity in the short-term.

Vision and balance tests indicate that a small proportion of children may be at-risk of negative after-effects following VR use, whilst the majority are robust to playing for 20 mins.

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Peter Robinson

Head of Research (MMRS)

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Dylan Yamada-Rice

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David Kleeman

SVP, Global Trends

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