Protecting children: What is the right age?

The use ofVR by children has created further concern (see also Paura 2018). According tojaron Lanier (2018,118),“there’s a consensus in theVR research community that kids shouldn’t get into VR before about age six, and some researchers recommend waiting until eight or nine”.The health and safety guide for the Oculus Rift and Touch headsets (Oculus 2019) forbids the use of the device by children under 13 years old. The guide explains that the headset is not the proper size for children, and that younger children are in a critical period in their visual development. Children’s susceptibility toward acquiring false memories is another point of concern (Bailenson 2018,992).

In TV news, for example, warnings by the news anchors of upcoming disturbing material have often preceded the insert but without any age recommendations. So far, The Guardian has been one of the few news media organizations that has provided special instructions and age recommendations for immersive journalism users. It has also informed its immersive journalism audience that if they feel sick or uncomfortable, the head-mounted displays should be taken off. Furthermore, they have been advised to sit down and avoid placing any hot drinks nearby (Panetta 2016). At the beginning of an immersive experience, such as in 6x9: Solitary confinement, a prison story, there is a warning:

Before you watch further you should be aware that this virtual experience has disturbing material and could provoke an emotional reaction.You should take this and your comfort level into consideration before you choose to continue. You must be at least 18 years old to participate in this virtual experience.

6X9: Solitary confinement -VR experience 2016

Another ethical issue, emphasized first by Ana Luisa Sanchez Laws (2019), is the use of children as informants in distressing news environments. Among the very first examples of immersive journalism were mini-documentaries, such as The Displaced (2015) and Clouds Oner Sidra (2015), in which refugee children were the central characters of the stories (see also Yemen’s Skies ofTerror 2018). According to Sanchez Laws (ibid., l),“the sensitivity required when presenting distressful events is even more important when working with minors as the subjects of these events”. Of course, permission from the parents or other custodians should always be asked if underage persons are to be used as story subjects.This is in line with general journalism ethics.

Conclusions

It is easy to argue that immersive journalism is indeed a powerful new medium, which could have both positive and negative effects for its users. As feelings and emotions have entered research in journalism studies, immersive journalism represents a new and important study field that needs international collaboration and networks. Finally, we can perhaps even start talking about emotive immersive journalism, as emotions play an essential role in the closed virtual experiences and story narratives.

Even if research on the effects of immersive journalism is still scarce, and the user base is low, we can already argue, based on results from health sciences, that there is a need for health instructions and ethical fine-tuning in terms of immersive experiences.

Perhaps most important of all, there should be minimum ages set for immersive journalism. What the lowest age should be for immersive journalism experiences is still debatable. Motion picture and game content rating systems could also offer some guidance for immersive experiences. If there are any doubts that the content may cause psychological harm for its users, special warnings and age restrictions should be set. Of course, another question is how to control that these warnings are obeyed.

Immersive journalists should not only be aware of their own work ethics in the matter of emotive immersive storytelling but also be critically cautious toward possibly advanced and sophisticated manipulation and disinformation operations in the immersive journalism form. In ethics, special attention should be paid to the questions of suitable content and its authenticity.

References

Bailenson,Jeremy. 2018. Experience on Demand: Шип Virtual Reality Is, How It Works, and Шип It Can Do. 1st ed. New York: W.W. Norton & Company.

Bakir.Vian & Andrew McStay. 2017. “Fake News and the Economy of Emotions: Problems, Causes, Solutions.” Digital Journalism 6(2), July: 154—175.

BBC.com. 2018. “Virtual reality therapy opens new horizons for neurological conditions.” BBC.com. 28 July, www.bbc.com/news/av/uk-scotland-44987550/virtual-reality-therapy- opens-new-horizons-for-neurological-conditions [Accessed 23 February 2019].

Beckett, Charlie Sc Mark Deuze. 2016.“On the role of emotion in the future of journalism.” Social Media Society 2(3), September: 1—6.

Biocca, Frank & Mark R. Levy. 1995. “Communication applications of virtual reality.” In: F. Biocca & M.R. Levy (eds.), LEA i Communication Senes.' Communication in the Age oj' Virtual Reality. Hillsdale, NNJ: Lawrence Erlbaum, pp. 127-157.

Bowman, Doug A. Sc Ryan P. McMahan. 2007. “Virtual reality: How much immersion is enough?” IEEE Computer 40(7),July: 36-43. doi:10.1109/MC.2007.257

Carlsson, Ulla Sc Reeta Poyhtari (eds). 2017. Hie Assault on Journalism: Building Knowledge to Protect Freedom oj' Expression. Gothenburg, Sweden: Nordicom.

Culver, Kathleen B. 2015. “Immersive approaches pose new questions.” 11 February. Wisconsin: Center for Journalism Ethics, University of Wisconsin-Madison. https:// ethics.journalism.wisc.edu/category/virtual-reality/ [Accessed 9 March 2019].

de la Pena, Nonny, Peggy Weil. Joan Llobera, Elias Giannopoulos, Ausias Pomes, Bernhard Spanlang, Doron Friedman, Maria V. Sanchez-Vives, Sc Mel Slater. 2010. “Immersive journalism: Immersive virtual reality for the first-person experience of news.” Presence 9(4), August: 291-301.

Diemer,Julia, Georg W.Alpers, Henrik M. Peperkorn,Youssef Shiban, Sc Andreas Muhlberger. 2015. “The impact of perception and presence on emotional reactions: A review of research in virtual reality.” Frontiers in Psychology 6(26),January.

Doyle, Patrick, Mitch Gelman, Sc Sam Gill. 2016. Viewing the Future? Virtual Reality in Journalism. Knight Foundation, https://knightfbundation.org/reports/vijournalism [Accessed 22 February 2019].

Emmelkamp, Paul M., Maty Bruynzeel, Leonie Drost, Sc C.A.G. van der Mast. 2001 .“Virtual reality treatment in acrophobia: A comparison with exposure in vivo.” CyberPsychology & Behavior 4(3), June: 335-339.

Evans, Leighton. 2019. The Re-Emergence of Virtual Reality. 1st ed. London: Routledge.

Fagan, Kaylee. 2018. “Here’s what happens to your body when you’ve been in virtual reality too long.” Business Insider, www.businessinsider.com/virtual-reality-vr-side- effects-2018-3?r=US&IR=T [Accessed 4 March 2019].

Fidelman, Charlie. 2018.“People with schizophrenia learn to fight their demons with virtual reality.” MontrealCazette.com. https://montrealgazette.com/health/montreal-researcher- has-patients-fighting-their-demons-with-virtual-reality [Accessed 7 August 2019].

Garone, Sarah. 2018. “Why virtual reality is a game-changer for my meditation practice.” Brit+Co, 15 August, www.brit.co/virtual-reality-meditation/ [Accessed 23 February 2019].

Hardee, Gary M. Sc Ryan P. McMahan. 2017. “FIJI: A framework for the immersion- journalism intersection.” Frontiers in ICT 4(21),July.

Hesmondhalgh, David. 2019. The Cultural Industries. 4th ed. London: SAGE.

Hoffman, Hunter G., David R. Patterson, & Gretchen J. Carrougher. 2000. “Use of virtual reality for adjunctive treatment of adult burn pain during physical therapy: A controlled study.” The Clinical Journal of Pain 16(3), September: 244-250.

Hoffman, Hunter G., Todd L. Richards, Barbara Coda, Aric R. Bills, David Blough, Anne L. Richards, & Sam R. Sharar. 2004. “Modulation of thermal pain-related brain activity with virtual reality: Evidence from fMRI.” Neuroreport 15(8),June: 1245-1248.

Hooker, Lucy. 2019. “How virtual reality can help you manage pain.” BBC News, 23 January, www.bbc.com/news/av/business-46964729/how-virtual-reality-can-help- you-manage-pain [Accessed 6 September 2019].

Jouhki, Jukka, Epp Lauk, Maija Penttinen, Niina Sormanen, & Turo Uskali. 2016. “Facebook’s emotional contagion experiment as a challenge to research ethics.” Media and Communication 4(4), October: 75-85.

Kent, Tom. 2015. “An ethical reality check for virtual reality journalism.” Medium.com, 31 August. https://medium.com/@tjrkent/an-ethical-reality-check-for-virtual-reality- journalism-8e5230673507 [Accessed 15 March 2020].

Kent, Tom. 2019. “Virtual reality journalism.” Online News Association, https://ethics. journalists.org/topics/virtual-reality-journalism-2/ [Accessed 27 September 2019].

Kramer, Adam D.I., Jamie E. Guillory & Jeffrey.T. Hancock. 2014. “Experimental evidence of massive-scale emotional contagion through social networks.” In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 111(24), June: 8788-8790.

Lanier, Jaron. 2018. Dawn of the New Everything: A Journey Through Virtual Reality. London: Bodley Head.

LaViola, Joseph J. 2000. “A discussion of cybersickness in virtual environments.” SICCHI Bulletin 52(1), January: 47-56. doi:10.1145/333329.333344

Lindgren, Simon. 2017. Digital Media & Society. London: SAGE.

Madary, Michael & Thomas K.Metzinger. 2016. “Real virtuality: A code of ethical conduct: recommendations for good scientific practice and the consumers of VR-technology.” Frontiers in Robotics andAI 3(3), February: 1-23.

Malloy, Kevin M. & Leonard S. Milling. 2010. “The effectiveness of virtual reality distraction for pain reduction: A systematic review.” Clinical Psychology Review 30(8), December: 1011-1018.

McKie, Robin. 2018. “Virtual reality to help detect early risk of Alzheimer’s: Navigation skills tested through headsets may identify patients far earlier.” The Guardian, 16 December. www.theguardian.com/society/2018/dec/16/alzheimers-dementia-cure- virtual-reality-navigation-skills [Accessed 9 March 2019].

McStay, Andrew. 2016. “Empathic media and advertising: Industry policy, legal and citizen perspectives (the case for intimacy).” Big Data & Society 3(2), November: 1-11.

Metz, Rachel. 2018. “How VR is helping flyers and dental patients calm down.” CNN. com, 10 December, https://edition.cnn.com/2018/12/10/tech/vr-dentist/index.html [Accessed 23 February 2019].

Nikunen, Kaarina. 2019. Media Solidarities: Emotions, Power and Justice in the Digital Age. London: SAGE.

Opriy David, Sebastian Pintea, Azucena Garcia-Palacios, Cristina Botella, §tefan Szamoskozi, & Daniel David. 2012. “Virtual reality exposure therapy in anxiety disorders: A quantitative meta-analysis.” Depression and Anxiety 29(2), February: 85—93.

Oxford English Dictionary. 2019. www.oed.com/vicw/Entry/61249?rskey=cd 1 fLA&result= 1 &isAdvanced=false#eid [Accessed 6 September 2019].

Panetta, Francesca. 2016.“6x9: A virtual reality experience of solitary confinement - FAQs.” The Guardian, T1 April, www.theguardian.com/world/2016/apr/27/6x9-vr-virtual- reality-experience-solitary-confinement-faqs-explainer [Accessed 10 March 2019].

Pantti, Mervi. 2010.“The value of emotion: An examination of television journalists’ notions on emotionality.” European Journal of Communication 2 3(2), June: 168-181.

Parsons,Thomas D. & Albert A. Rizzo. 2008. “Affective outcomes of virtual reality exposure therapy for anxiety and specific phobias: A meta-analysis.” Journal of Behavior Therapy and Experimental Psychiatry 39(3), October: 250-261.

Paura, Angelo. 2018. “The ethical challenges of immersive journalism.” Mediashift.org, February. http://mediashift.org/2018/02/the-ethical-challenges-of-immersive-journalism/ [Accessed 9 March 2019].

Peters, Chris. 2011. “Emotion aside or emotional side? Crafting an‘experience of involvement’ in the news.”Journalism 12(3), April: 297-316.

Robitzski, Dan. 2017. “Virtual reality and journalistic ethics: Where are the lines?” Undark.org, 27 September, https://undark.org/article/virtual-reality-and-journalistic- ethics-where-are-the-lines/ [Accessed 9 March 2019].

Sanchez Laws, Ana Luisa. 2019. Conceptualizing Immersive Journalism. New York: Routledge.

Savran Kelly,J. 2018.“Relieving real pain in a virtual world.” Cornell Chronicle, https://news. cornell.edu/stories/2018/04/relieving-real-pain-virtual-world [Accessed 30 April 2019].

Schilowitz.Ted. 2017.“Foreword.” In: John Bucher (ed.), Storytelling for Virtual Reality: Methods and Principles for Crafting Immersive Narratives. New York: Routledge, pp. ix-xi.

Silverman, Craig. 2016.“This analysis shows how fake election news stories outperformed real news on Facebook.” BuzzFeed News, www.buzzfeednews.com/article/craigsilverman/ viral-fake-election-news-outperformed-real-news-on-facebook | Accessed 16 November 2019].

Sundar, S. Shyam, Jin Kang, & Danielle Oprean. 2017. “Being there in the midst of the story: How immersive journalism affects our perceptions and cognitions.” Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking 20(11), November: 672—682.

Temming, Maria. 2018. “Are you scared of heights? Virtual reality could help. In a therapy app, an avatar coaches people through sky-high situations.” Sciencenewsforstudents.org. www.sciencenewsfbrstudents.org/article/are-you-scared-heights-virtual-reality-could- help [Accessed 14 August 2019].

Uskali, Turo, Esa Sirkkunen, Chelsea Kelling, Pasi Ikonen, & Heli Vaataja. 2019. “Testing immersive journalism experiences: Emotions and ethics.” Paper presented at The Future of Journalism conference, Cardiff University, United Kingdom, 12 September.

van Dijck, Jose,Thomas Pocll, & Martijn DeWaal. 2018. The Platform Society: Public Values in a Connective World. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

Wahl-Jorgensen, Karin. 2019. Emotions, Media and Politics. Hoboken, NJ: John Wiley & Sons.

Ward, Stephen J.A. 2018. Disrupting Journalism Ethics. London: Routledge.

 
Source
< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >