How VR Could Change Education & Entertainment for the Next Generation

Virtual reality experiences designed for kids is a swiftly growing area. The next generation could be the first to truly embrace VR as it transforms the way they learn and more. 

Virtual reality is poised to become a multi-industry game-changer for this generation—but the technology is already being used by many to transform education and entertainment for the next generation as well. Virtual reality projects and products designed for the pre-teen set are being launched at a quick pace—and today’s kids could be the first to get hooked on VR.

A 2015 survey on virtual reality conducted by Greenlight VR found that younger consumers are more excited about the technology than the older generations, with “Gen Z” the most passionate about it. Parents might want to prepare: 70% of teens and tweens interviewed would "definitely” or “probably” ask for a VR device. Since then, we’ve seen The New York Time’s Google Cardboard giveaway inspire parents to hand headsets over to their children, McDonald’s turn the Happy Meal into a kid-sized virtual reality experience, and Mark Zuckerberg publicly declare that he will “absolutely” let his own kid play VR games. While virtual reality might still be in the early stages of mainstreaming, it’s becoming clear that VR could be the norm for the next generation.

In our Q&A with VR leader Framestore, Executive Producer Christine Cattano told us that virtual reality has major potential to impact the next generation. She explained, “Obviously the initial players [in VR] are going to be gaming and entertainment, but I think there's lots of really interesting value to be added to areas like healthcare and education. Education, to me, is probably the most exciting. I’m excited to see how VR changes how kids are interested in certain places, and how we can…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“I observe holidays and religion-based traditions but am more connected to it as a culture than as a religion.”—Female, 27, MA

Chinese youth have a “selfie obsession” that’s changing beauty standards and creating a new tier of celebrity. The Influencer Effect is full blown in China, where young consumers are beautifying their selfies via filter apps like Meitu and plastic surgery—all in the quest to look more like wang hong, their internet celebrities. One influencer, HoneyCC, argues that “Selfies are part of Chinese culture now, and so is Meitu-editing selfies.” But some say the trend is pushing the population to become more homogenous by favoring certain features, and headlines have lashed back against the whitening of skin prevalent in social apps. (The New Yorker)

Eighty-one percent of Bustle, Romper, and Elite Daily’s Millennial readers say social media is the best way for advertisers to reach them. Bustle’s latest questionnaire also found that 40% of their 18-34-year-old readers prefer Instagram for brand communications, followed by trusted websites, email, and online articles. Some other fun insights: Over half believe that a company should give back, instead of just turning a profit, and 49% think “companies should do more to protect the environment.” (Adweek)

Drug use is down among teens—except when it comes to marijuana and vaping. From the 1990s to 2017, the percentage of teens who said they’d been drunk dropped from 46% and 58%, and those reporting they’ve smoked cigarettes from 26% and 17%. However, marijuana use increased for the first time in seven years in 2017, while vaping is up as well, with at least 19% of high school seniors, 16% of sophomores, and 8% of eighth-graders saying they’ve vaped in the past year. (LATimes)

Two modern dating shows are coming to Facebook Watch. The first “unscripted dating show” from SoulPancake, Love & Longitude, is shot on iPhones and shows two potential love interests’ relationship blossoming across FaceTime, social media, and other digital interactions. The second dating show from Machinima, Co-Op Connection, plays into the esports craze. One bachelor gets to pick his partner based on their personality—and their skills at the videogame, PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds. (tubefiltertubefilter)

Some cities are past their “peak Millennial” populations, as the generation increasingly finds new digs in the suburbs. Boston, Chicago, and Los Angeles all reached their highest Millennial population in 2015, and New York and Washington D.C. are showing slowing Millennial growth, according to U.S. Census data. Meanwhile Chicago’s suburbs and others have seen an uptick in their young adult populations—another Millennial myth debunked. Which urban centers are still attracting the demo as they age up? “Tech hubs” like Seattle and San Francisco. (Time)

“Crochet and knitting are very relaxing, therapeutic, and have tangible results."—Female, 31, AL

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