Wearing headsets inhibits discussions? You may well be right – at least if you’re in the UK. In a comprehensive study into British youth culture, Amplify has found that over half of 18 – 30 year olds think VR will make us antisocial in the future.

According to the report, this is in line with a report by Doteveryone that found 50% of people in UK said the internet has made life a lot better for people like themselves, but only 12% say it’s had a very positive impact on society. This is tied to the overall narrative of social media being a danger for social interactions. 

Raising questions

Some of the other linked key findings include:
  • Over half of the respondents thought VR will make people anti-social
  • 7 out of 10 would rather have experiences than material things

Now, do I agree with this study? I am unsure. Yes, it is quite literally like having a blindfold around your eyes, which is a bit of a hassle when you’re trying to talk to people. Then imagine looking around the bus with everyone using headsets and thinking, ‘wow, they seem a bit antisocial.’

Thing is, we have been doing it for many years. See this:

Will VR make us antisocial?

This is us, many years ago, chilling on a bus and reading the news. Now imagine that today, only with mobile phones. We’re practically enveloped in our own worlds, so adding a box around our eyes won’t make much of a difference.

Now of course, the difference is that one has the freedom to look around with papers and phones; less so with VR. And yes, I can imagine full VR headsets will be less common for the sake of security. But with glasses? Or while home alone watching a movie, when you have limited space in your living room for a larger TV? I can imagine VR will be a complement to everyday life, not a replacement of social activities.

No, VR won’t make us antisocial – we’re already pretty antisocial.

Tom Ffiske
Twitter: @TomFfiske
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  1. Then they haven’t been properly informed about VR. There are a TON of social applications for VR, almost more so than any single-player ones. Almost every science fiction story about VR is about it’s connected virtual worlds that everyone socializes together in! I’ve always seen it as a way to increase my ability to socialize and stay connected to friends.
    VR allows you to socialize with anyone anywhere. It allows you to feel presence with other people in the same virtual space, even tho you might not be able to visit in person. I frequently watch movies with friends in VR now.
    In likely just a few months, we’re going to see Standalone mobile VR headsets with full 6dof tracking, capable of room-scale tracking and beyond, like stadium scale tracking or unlimited space tracking. Oculus has already confirmed this.
    Standalone VR headsets with that level of capability will change everything! No longer will good VR require an expensive PC or phone. Groups of friends could take their VR headsets to a park or gym and play VR games together in a large tracking area.
    All it takes is people trying this stuff, and they’ll change their opinion.. VR is just as, if not more, social than any other kind of gaming.

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