“Virtual reality has been coined by many as the ultimate empathy machine, enabling publishers to transport audiences to different situations and make them engage with stories like never before. But it’s possible this immersive medium can be used to encourage negative behaviour, thus having detrimental implications on society and its values.”
On of the primary concerns regarding the world of Virtual Reality is desensitisation. This can happen when exposed to a situation on a regular basis. It has been noted in some online publications such as https://www.vrs.org.uk/virtual-reality/ethical-issues.html that this may happen playing games with high levels of violence or military training, with simulated scenes which can contain killing.
This same desensitisation can be used for positive reasons. If a person has an overwhelming fear, regular exposure can help overcome it. For example a fear of flying, you can become familiar with take offs and landings whilst being aware that you feet are firmly on the ground.
In a discussion at the last Talk Local event in Birmingham the topic of VR was quite animated, we agreed on there being a place for VR and that the user will receive a more personal experience than those watching at home in HD.
The question we asked was who is responsible for viewing control. My personal belief is that it is the responsibility of the individual, or in the case of children, the parents. If the networks provide a guide to the viewing, in the way films do, or make it clear there may be explicit content.
If this information is given the responsibility is passed to the consumer, they are able to make an informed choice to watch or not to watch.
Providers of VR content need to be regulated and monitored, as much for public can have confidence.