Virtual reality is stifling children’s creativity

April 20, 2015

Rachel Librach
rlibrach@uccs.edu

With the latest and greatest technological advances, humans have created a virtual reality device that allows us to simulate real life situations in the comfort of our living rooms.

But there are potential risks associated with this leap in technology.

One device that has transformed how people play games is the Oculus Rift – a virtual reality headset that allows players to step inside their favorite games and virtual worlds. This device creates an almost out-of-body experience as players become the character in their game.

Focusing on young children, this new technology is innovative and invigorating; but there are consequences to this new style of gaming. For example, children would prefer to have activities simulated for them rather than going outside and experiencing life for themselves.

By stifling a child’s creativity and isolating them from reality, not only does the child lose crucial one-on-one interactions with their peers, but the chance for some major character development opportunities as well.

Scraping a knee, inventing a new game, laughing with friends, learning a sport – these are all stages in child development that allow kids to grow and learn skills such as team work, communication, creativity and resourcefulness.

Take that away and what you have left is a child that depends on someone or something to entertain and create games for them. How will this dependence benefit the younger generation in a world that increasingly seeks innovators and fresh minds?

It’s not just the Oculus Rift that creates virtual worlds for children; cell phones, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube all contribute to the mass media infiltrating people’s lives and convincing them the online or virtual worlds are much more interesting than reality.

Over the years, people are being exposed to this new wave of virtual technology at younger and younger ages. When I was eight years old, my biggest concern at school was how I could beat my other classmates to the playground during recess and be first in line for the swings.

Today, eight-year-olds worry about their social media accounts and if their clothes are current with the hottest trends. When I lived in California, I knew an eight-year-old girl who was on her cell phone every second of the day updating her status.

She wears makeup and those “short shorts” that are no bigger than a washcloth and feels more content living in the virtual world rather than enjoying a beautiful sunny day in the real one.

Many children are being introduced to this wide array of virtual devices and mature content that is well beyond their years.

This is stifling the younger generation’s creativity and providing them an excuse to escape from the “real world” instead of learning how to deal with problems and insecurities that are bound to crop up at some point in their lives.