What is Virtual Reality


Type of Resource


Publication Date

June 20, 2023


Artificial Intelligence and Emerging Technologies

Virtual reality (VR) is a digitally created experience that completely immerses the user in a simulated world. For example, you could be climbing Mount Everest or duelling Darth Vader – all from your front room. VR is typically facilitated by handheld controllers and a headset worn directly over the eyes. In larger group settings, VR may involve gigantic screens and loudspeakers.

VR technology has seen a rise in commercial popularity recently, with advancements in entertainment, businesses, education, and medical research.



There are no effective age verification systems for VR headsets or games, outside of an underage person not being able to purchase them without parental consent.
There are no parental controls available on any individual VR headsets. Most companies say they are recommended for children aged 13 and up.
VR may make a young person feel things that are not real, such as worry for safety or romantic attachments. This may result in negative effects on their mental health.
As reported by this BBC case study, there is potential for children and young people to be exposed to graphic sexual content, racism, sexism, and displays of violence.
As adults and children can be in the same virtual place at the same time without censorship or intervention, many social aspects of the VR experience could create an environment for grooming (when an adult builds a relationship with a young person based on trust and connection in order to manipulate or abuse them).
Reports of virtual bullying, sexual harassment, and threats of violence are abundant within shared VR experiences. While this may come from strangers, there is also a possibility that real-world friends could become virtual tormentors.

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