The Amazing Ways Virtual Reality is Changing Childrens' Lives

May 16, 2017

There is no better example of virtual reality having an enormous impact on the lives of our children than when Make-A-Wish Foundation granted the very first virtual wish to Zayden Wright.

At 2 days old, Zayden was diagnosed with a congenital heart disease. His condition has required him to endure 38 echocardiograms, six heart catheterizations and four open heart surgeries during his fist seven years of life. The creative vision of the wish was based on a story Zayden wrote himself: a journey in a red rocket ship to visit Saturn in outer space.

No blast off into outer space (even virtually) can happen without the experience of a trained astronaut. The launch team was joined by, Commander LeRoy Chiao, former NASA astronaut and founder of educational not-for-profit OneOrbit.

Driving the mission at command central was TRICK 3D, an expert 3D animation and virtual reality studio founded by Chad Eikhoff, the producer/director who is best known for the movie, “An Elf’s Story: The Elf of the Shelf Christmas Special.

Zayden Wright continues to live with his congenital heart disease and he enjoys playing, reading, drawing, dancing and, of course, dreaming about outer space. Over 27,000 children are diagnosed annually with life threatening illnesses and every 34 minutes, the Make-A-Wish Foundation grants a special wish to one of those children.

Other Ways Virtual Reality is Used

Enhance Education in Primary Education
The major benefit of virtual reality in the classroom is that it engages students completely in the lesson. It sparks creativity and brings difficult concepts to life.

Google has made it easier for schools to include virtual reality, or VR, with their free Expeditions Pioneer Program providing guided tours for up to 50 students at a time to places like Buckingham Palace, Machu Picchu and the Great Barrier Reef. Virtual Reality has an important and growing role in education, but it’s going to take a while, perhaps several years, to get all schools on board.

Google image VR

Special Education & Alternative Leaning
VR is also enhancing the educational experience of physically challenged students, as well as those with learning disabilities. Virtual reality is being used to help people with disabilities explore the world that might be difficult or impossible in real life.

major benefits of vr

Advances in Medicine
Currently VR is being used to treat phobias, reduce pain, and even help doctors perform surgery. Goldman Sachs predicts that virtual reality will become an $80 billion industry by 2025; they estimate that $5.1 billion of that will be healthcare related.

What Parents Should Know About Virtual Reality

VR technology has the ability to introduce our children to exciting new experiences, but there are some very real negative impacts for young children. Parents should be monitored and limit VR screen time to avoid the following issues:

  • Cybersickness Cybersickness (also known as virtual-reality or digital sickness) is a side-effect some individuals experienced when using VR. Symptoms are similar to those of motion or sea sickness, including nausea, disorientation, headaches, sweating and even vomiting. Visual and auditory sensory inputs tell your child’s brain that their moving through space, whereas theri inner ear doesn’t detect the corresponding motion. This phenomenon is more likely to affect children between two and 12 years, which is why some VR unit manufacturers advise caution or even for their units to be used only by children of 13 and over.

    major benefits of vr small
  • Not all Content is G Rated Tech companies are developing affordable headsets that work with VR content provided free of charge on both G-rated and adult sites such as PornHub. The porn industry historically has been an early adopted to new technology. Piper Jaffray, an investment and asset management firm, estimates by 2025 porn will be the third-largest biggest sector of virtual reality content behind video games and NFL-related content.

    Pornhub now feature a virtual reality section with videos optimized for both Android and iOS mobile devices, playable through most virtual reality headsets including Oculus Rift, Samsung Gear VR, and Google Cardboard with smartphones. Pornhub regularly has promotions sending out cardboard VR headsets for free.

The prolific nature of the adult website and apps means it is more imperative than ever for parents to have tools like Net Nanny to monitor screen time and provide alerts or block when children attempt to access or download inappropriate content.