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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“My work schedule can be hectic, so I snack on nuts, berries, or other non-deadly foods during any downtime.”

—Male, 32, KY

AwesomenessTV and fashion/beauty brands are coming together to make branded series for Gen Z. In the past, AwesomenessTV has worked with numerous brands to produce original content, including CoverGirl and Kohl’s. Now they’re planning a 24-part docu-series with Hollister called “This is Summer,” following teens’ high school journeys—while they’re clad in shoppable Hollister clothing of course. Our own Chief Content Officer explains that Ypulse has “found Gen Z to be fairly open to watching sponsored entertainment,” with 77% of 13-17-year-olds agreeing, "As long as the story is interesting, I don't mind that it is sponsored." (Glossy)

Fullscreen agrees that Gen Z is the generation that’s most receptive to branded content. Their survey found over half of Gen Z doesn’t mind even undisclosed branded content, and significantly more Gen Z teens than Millennials have engaged with social branded content (viewing photos, liking and sharing content and tagging friends) in the past six months. Influencer marketing wins out with the group, with over half of teens preferring influencer content to pre-roll, sponsored posts, banners, and traditional TV commercials. The sweet spot for advertisers may be branded video, especially when influencers are involved. (TubefilterAdweek)

Graduation spending is expected to reach a record $5.6 billion for the Class of 2017. Over half of the graduation gifts given will be cash, followed by greeting cards, gift cards, apparel, and electronic devices. Another trend for the year is more and more peers giving each other gifts, with a 6% lift year over year. Younger consumers will spend an average of $78.42 ,compared to 45-54-year-olds’ $119.84 and 65-and-over’s $112.34, and while greeting cards are also most popular, they’re also almost twice as likely to gift clothing. (ConsumerAffairs)

Instagram has the “most negative impact on young people’s mental wellbeing,” followed by Snapchat, according to a recent study. The image-centric platforms could “driv[e] feelings of inadequacy and anxiety,” and were rated the most poorly for their impacts on sleep, FOMO, and body image. Out of the top five most popular social media platforms, YouTube was the only one that earned a positive score. The silver lining? Some argue the evaluation is “blaming the medium for the message,” and social media/online communities are also Gen Z and Millennials’ top resource for learning about “mindfulness, meditation, and wellness,” according to Ypulse data. (The Guardian)

Lego is being called the “most powerful brand in the world,” beating out Google, Visa, and Nike. Brand Finance’s latest valuation report shows Lego’s brand value increased 68% over last year, looking at metrics like “familiarity, loyalty, promotion, marketing investment, staff satisfaction and corporate reputation.” At least some of the lift can be attributed to the successful movie franchise (The Lego Movie and The Lego Batman Movie) and its strategic partnership with Star Wars.

(Business Insider)

“I kind of don't like the commercialization of fandom culture…However, creating licensed products is one way a brand could interact.”

—Male, 24, MO

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