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Report – VR and AR Storytelling for Kids

Posted on: Thursday 11 July 2019 12:38am by Jess Percival

The ways children interact with the world around them is changing fast. With many children preferring to watch content on a mobile device, such as a tablet, than they do traditional TV, there are a lot of new possibilities that comes with having a device in your pocket.

Takeaways:

  • Use music and audio to engage and guide
  • Create an emotional connection with the characters
  • Let kids interact, touch, stamp and more – they want to DO stuff
  • The testing phase is crucial – you never know how kids will react

Detail: 

The differences between Augmented Reality and Virtual Reality are big. AR creates a little bit of magic in your reality, whereas VR allows you to experience a completely different universe. 

Regardless of their differences, VR and AR still have similarities in how children navigate them. 

First off, It’s so important to take into account your audience. Younger children may need parental help throughout their experience, and this must be built into the content from the start. Not only that, think about how your audience will access the content. By creating something that can be accessed on ‘YouTube 360’ or ‘Google Cardboard’, you will allow a much wider audience to get involved.  

The testing phase crucial. Testing with kids is always a challenge, they’re never going to do what you intend for them to do. VR and AR is definitely about failing fast. This is why it is important to work with kids through the process, because they teach you new things about your content that you never would have thought about. 

The applications go further than you may initially think. VR can be used to help children through fears and bad experiences, by taking their fears to a fantasy place where they have more control than in reality. AR can help children learn science by letting them see the Big Bang happen in their own hands, or by allowing them to view their local park as it once was 100 years ago. Claire Spencer Cook feels that AR is a very social content format, meaning it also gives kids the chance to develop their social skills. 

Overall, the most important thing is the story. According to Will Humphrey, without a good story, and the ability to play and learn, your VR or AR content might well fall flat. Shul Gilutz added that your story and content should get viewers coming back, else it might not have as much longevity as you would want.

Alison Norrington described her year of research, for the Children’s Media Foundation, which involved setting up vents to look at VR from several different perspectives – including storytelling.  Her top tips:

  • Use music and audio (to guide and engage)
  • Create an emotional Connection with characters
  • Let kids interact, touch, stamp and more (kids want to DO stuff)
  • Use illustrative / graphics styles and cartoons rather than human faces
  • Experiment with non-linear storytelling (things happening above, below, around)
  • Put child at the heart of the story.
Jess Percival

About the author

Jess Percival

Skeleton Productions, Production Assistant

Jess is a production assistant with a passion for children’s media. She loves everything geeky (from gaming to movies) and her dream job is to work with both children and animals, despite the warnings! Read more

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