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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