BY ANDREW MCDONALD
THE PLANNED ending of covid-related restrictions in October will come as a relief to most of us. Nothing is confirmed yet and, as with anything Coronavirus-related, things can change very quickly. Signs are that we are very much on the last lap though.
Lifting of restrictions won’t make any difference for some, however. Many living with underlying health conditions are being advised to continue to be careful and this is unlikely to change any time soon. It’s probably going to be even more difficult for them and for the people they live with who will also have to continue to restrict their activities. Watching the rest of us getting back to normal will further remind them of how limited their lives continue to be.
Over the last couple of weeks, these articles perhaps carried a tone of negativity about technology. It’s true that we all need to be careful how we use devices, particularly when they’re connected to the internet. Equally valid is the fact these tools have the ability to enhance our lives or even provide a lifeline in strange times.
At the risk of running the wrath of parents, there is at least one very good reason why children, and adults, should be encouraged to enter the world of VR gaming. Particularly people whose outside lives are restricted by covid.
For those who don’t know, VR gaming refers to video games played in a virtual-reality environment. Through a VR headset, gamers can open up the world from within their own homes. This offers an escape from daily realities and worries and helps reduce feelings of loneliness. VR can be quite powerful, truly making you feel that you are in a completely different environment.
Furthermore, these virtual environments can be social occasions too. Some headsets and games offer players the ability to speak to other gamers in real time which can massively help reduce the isolation which comes from being restricted to the home. There is a massive range of games too which appeal to all tastes. From fantasy to sports, whatever floats your boat, you’re sure to find something suitable.
VR really has the ability to take over your senses. Whereas using platforms such as Zoom, which undoubtedly are great tools in their own right, creates an artificial environment, VR actually seems like it takes you inside the alternative reality. It offers an escapism which looking at a simple computer or laptop screen can’t provide.
Don’t take my word for it. There have been reports and investigations into the benefits of VR gaming on wellbeing in a wide variety of journals and magazines from medical genres to more popular categories.
Of course, as with any gaming and internet-dependent social environments, parents need to exercise discretion. We also can’t ignore that there is nothing like actually getting outside and meeting people. For those who can’t, however, VR gaming may provide an alternative which increases their sense of feeling good about themselves.