Immersive Media and Child Devel­op­ment Report Released


In November 2018, the Joan Ganz Cooney Center, in conjunc­tion with Arizona State Univer­sity held the inaugural Future of Childhood Salon on Immersive Media and Childhood Devel­op­ment. Our Director of Education, Dr. Brooke Morrill, PhD., was one of the partic­i­pants in the Salon. CEO Jesse Schell submitted one of the five vision papers that helped guide the 60-person workshop. The summary and conclu­sion the group came to were just released.The focus for the salon included:

  • Immersive media- augmented reality (AR), virtual reality (VR), mixed reality (MR), and cross/​extended reality (XR)
  • Children under the age of 13 and their devel­op­ment
  • The oppor­tu­ni­ties that can arise when combining immersive media and children.

According to the report, the main themes of discus­sion the Salon aimed to cover were:

  • imagining the future of childhood,
  • consid­er­a­tions for design,
  • crafting a research agenda,
  • exploring prior­i­ties for policy, advocacy, and funding.

In his vision paper, Jesse Schell makes a strong case for why VR is made for children.

Why do I say that VR and AR are media for children? For two reasons. First, the primary feature of these mediums is that you interact with your body. These are expe­ri­ences that encourage standing, walking, throwing, touching, grabbing, holding, stretching, ducking, and crawling. Adults are shy about inter­acting with their bodies. They prefer to sit and watch, or point and click. For children, exploring the world is a full-body expe­ri­ence, which lines up perfectly with the strengths of VR and AR. The second reason is because one of the most powerful expe­ri­ences that VR and AR are able to provide is that of giving the user an imaginary friend.

The report is free to download.