Age Appropriate Use
There is growing interest among educators and parents to use XR for educational and entertainment purposes for young people.
XR technologies are already changing the way people live, work and learn, and have tremendous promise to further improve people’s lives. This is true for young people.
In healthcare, doctors are using XR to improve the young patients’ experience – from distraction, pain management and physical therapy, in some instances reducing the need for anesthesia or other drug therapies – XR is helping doctors provide safer, more comfortable care for young patients.
The concept of “learning through doing” has much credence among researchers and others, and XR technologies offer unprecedented access to new experiences for all users, including children.
In the education space, physical practice can often be more impactful than mere observation when learning a new skill. More educators, museums and other sites are incorporating augmented and virtual reality into field trips and exhibits, implementing 3D models to explain abstract concepts found in mathematics, or using teacher created applications to better engage students. XR is also being used to help young people who are neurodiverse. Even in an entertainment context, use of XR introduces young people to new social environments and ensures that they will be acquainted with and able to effectively use this important emerging technology.
“There is great potential for children’s use of XR technologies. Already we are seeing exciting developments in mobile AR experiences for young children. At this time, however, most XR equipment, i.e., HMDs, are not designed for children. Users of the technology should pay heed to the age of use limitations defined by each headset manufacturer or XR application.”
— Liz Hyman, XRA CEO
The XR Association plans to undertake research and partner with well-respected organizations to explore these issues in a responsible fashion so that young people can take full advantage of the benefits of XR.
A number of XRA member companies have made statements to highlight their stance on age-appropriate use of immersive applications. Some have released relevant parental controls for headsets, and put in place age guidelines. See below for statements and articles that provide guidance on utilizing XR technology responsibility: