HOW TO KEEP YOUR KIDS ENTERTAINED

HALF-TERM MADNESS AND HOW VR HELPS

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I recently read Emily Sheffield’s weekly comment in the Evening Standard (9th Feb, 2018) on how to keep your kids from being consumed by endless glowing screens over half-term.

It’s a great question but technology is not something to be afraid of when dealing with the youth. It should be embraced, especially with the speed at which it’s developing or there is a risk of being left behind.

I think the more important question is how to keep the youngsters of today engaged at some kind of level that allows parents to intersect and participate on the same level.

You might not be aware but there is a growing world out there that puts everyone on par.

It’s called Virtual Reality and it’s as powerful medium as they come.

A multiverse of games and content provides the ability to immerse parents and children together creating a platform that allows them to engage with each other.

Parents no longer need to learn how to use handheld console driven controllers to move or look at a television screen for hours in order to scrape a few fleeting moments together.

The critical element of being socially interactive is communication which has been lost through technology taking their ability away to interact with others. The ability to facetime or WhatsApp just doesn’t cut it.

VR changes this by fostering interaction, teamwork, lateral thinking and an increase in cognitive function.

How much is spending and hour or two of dedicated time with your children worth?

It’s priceless right?

Imagine being within an environment with your children that is totally closed off to interruption yet they engage with you for the entire time.

Parents can participate in a way that has never been possible before. Working as a unit (up to 4 players simultaneously) the individuals see a representation of each other with the ability to talk and interact in the virtual world.

Not only that, but once the time is over it becomes a conversational topic for the rest of the day or week with some parents and children planning tactics together as a family for the next time.

Some parents have even spoken of their children and respective friends discussing gameplay and tactics throughout the week. With one mother being told to turn off the car music because it was too loud.

Quality VRCades are the key here and it has the potential to become huge. They offer us the space and equipment at a low cost that in most cases is cheaper than other per hour activities.

That said I’m not describing the freely accessible VR that is available as part of a phone contract or some printed plastic that goes over your device.

I’m referring to room scale VR technologies such HTC’s Vive or the Oculus Rift.

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These products are generally out of most people’s reach. Not because of the headset costs themselves but due to the whopping graphical requirements that require a level of compute beyond most parent’s understanding and budgets.

When you add the cost of consoles, tablets, phones, laptops and the rest of the high-end device bought to keep children happy you are looking in the thousands of pounds.

On top of this you need the free space which at the very least is about 2 x 1.2m. The reason for this is it’s active. You need to move about and in some cases a lot. So not only does Virtual Reality get kids out of the house and talking again but it means they are active.

VRCades provide a means to get parents and children out of the house for a fun day out.

The mere mention of Virtual Reality is something most kids will jump at the opportunity to participate in and the fact parents or adults can partake in this kind of activity without needing cat like head eye co-ordination makes it even more appealing.

Whatever movements you use to interact with the real world translates to that of the virtual world.

Just to recap.

VR is social, active and affordable.

Best of all it’s fun.

What better way to spend time with your children than having fun.