As virtual reality (VR) is something that is increasingly used, 'The Children's Society' wanted to see if it can help young people.
Practitioners in Birmingham told the Society how young people struggle to talk about anxiety. However, communication is crucial for getting the right support.
Could VR be used to create a safe space for young people to talk about their anxious thoughts and practice coping techniques?
A poll of over 100 young people revealed that school makes them the most anxious, especially situations such as:
- speaking aloud in class
- taking exams under pressure
- walking through busy corridor
The Society worked with The Fred Company to create a VR space and develop both virtual and physical coping cards with relaxation techniques. Practitioners were also trained to use the VR headsets, and the product was tested for three months.
After two trials, they came to the conclusion that on the one hand, practitioners must be highly trained in the use of VR to feel comfortable. On the other hand, young people were excited to use it and it did improve communication in sessions.
The future of VR and helping young people:
New pilots will run until May 2020. One of them targets young people with learning difficulties and the other is being developed to understand how VR might help young people in care.