Augmented Reality apps for kids: danger or a way for development?
VR / AR25 November 2019
We have already covered several topics on how AR apps can inhale a new life into different areas and your business, especially. However, we don’t want to be one of those companies who refuse to admit that their products might bring harm along with the pros. So let us say it right away: Augmented Reality danger exists.
Let us be a bit boring for a few minutes, as Ross Geller, while telling some curious facts to his friends. But please don’t fall asleep… So, there was a long way for people working with atoms and their energy before it led to atomic bombs. We all know that such a sad result of great physicists’ achievements was not their aim at all. Atomic energy was aimed to bring improvements in peaceful areas. And, it was really used in some useful ways. But then Mr. Oppenheimer became a father of the atomic bomb and remarked later: “Now I become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”
So, getting back to our times, technologies are aimed to bring improvement to all areas of our life. And, they really do so. But we can’t deny that almost all cool devices and different tech stuff have an opposite side. So, admitting the downsides, we can avoid the destiny of Oppenheimer’s great achievement and create really useful stuff.
Today, we would like to show you both sides of the AR technology.
AR technology dangers
In general, there are several main dangers AR technology can bring:
- Information Overload. Social media networks and the widespread usage of mobile devices has made it easy to access a massive amount of information from different sources. And wearable AR devices like AR smart glasses made it even easier. The information overload leads to stress, indecisiveness and inaction states. All these points destroy the main purpose of AR, which is enabling quick action using the real-time environment.
- Perception of Impairment. AR glasses can be considered as a key component of the technology. However, they can compromise users’ safety as well. AR glasses and lenses made through substandard design. Their manufacturing processes can potentially cause impairment in the perception of the wearer. It may lead to serious consequences depending on the application.
- Distraction. AR can act as a distractor sometimes. Employees or students newly equipped with the technology might find AR to be more of a distraction and a hindrance, than the enabler it purports to be.
- Privacy. Collection data is a part of AR functioning. This is caused by the principles of technology work. AR devices work by capturing and analyzing the real-world environment and then adding extra information over it. The data is gathered not only from the users of AR devices but also from the people the devices observe through cameras. This can definitely affect people’s privacy.
- Security. Like any other technology, AR is vulnerable to security breaches. Threats and unauthorized access by hackers can lead to a denial of service or overlay wrong information. And it can bring catastrophic consequences in some cases. For example, if a driver is using an AR-powered navigation system.
The ways to reduce AR dangers
Of course, all these dangers can be regulated. Information overload can be controlled by regulating the amount of data provided through AR technologies. This is partially a task for business owners not to overwhelm users. However, users can restrict some apps usage if they feel devastated and overloaded once they interact with it.
Perception impairment can be prevented by ensuring the compliance of AR equipment to the highest quality and safety standards. And we can say that AR devices are improving all the time to bring a better experience.
Recently we posted about future predictions for AR in 2020, and one of the topics was connected to new AR glasses which can totally change the technology.
AR-induces distraction can be reduced by special training to ensure that a transition from non-AR to AR-enabled operations will be smooth. No need to make people work with all the functions of the new technology right away. The special training can help people to get used to all the AR-based operations one by one. This will help to avoid stress and accept the process of adaptation easily.
Working on keeping privacy while using AR devices is another challenge for the technology to be overcome in the future.
Security must be one of the main priorities for the developers and business owners. And, this is still one of the challenges developers must work on in the future.
However, there is one more thing that must be discussed. We need to talk about what danger can be brought by augmented reality apps for kids.
AR technologies and kids
Technologies affect children from an increasingly early age. Here are some statistics to understand the situation:
While the benefits of AR kids’ technology usage cannot be denied, we need to realize how excessive exposure can impact the development and health of the young generation.
So the overuse of mobile devices increase the risks of developing:
- Signs of inattention, impulsivity and poor short-term memory, leading to behavioral and learning difficulties
- Obesity (on the rise in young children) due to a lack of physical exercise
- Issues with fine motor skills, and in turn handwriting skills, as a result of less exposure to traditional play activities such as blocks, play dough, arts and crafts, and dressing dolls
- A hunched back, a condition called “postural kyphosis”.
The risks are rather scary. But, should parents prohibit the usage of smartphones and tablets? Hot necessarily. We need to accept that reality with mobile devices is a part of our lives. But, children need to have a balance between the use of devices and social activities. So the answer is in the moderate usage of the devices. In addition, it’s vital for young people to be active and participate in interactive plays. It supports their gross and fine motor, cognitive, social and communication development.
AR safety for kids
Additionally, AR kids harm can be based on some controversial aspects as they must be controlled by parents:
- Apply safety features. AR apps and games can have restricted chats and privacy settings for filtering out abusive language and behavior. But not all of them have moderators in place.
- Age ratings and reviews. Some content can show violent/sexual content or bring the wrong values to kids. Parents must read reviews and pay attention to age restrictions while choosing an app for their kids. They must be aware of what content the kids are engaged with.
- Physical safety/health. Players can fall and hurt themselves. Some games can bring to crowded places, which can’t be 100% safe for children.
So, parents can easily control kids. No need to prohibit the technology usage for your kids. Better to transform it into something really useful.
Kids’ screen time statistics show the following:
AR for books
There are lots of opportunities and benefits in AR for kids’ education and useful entertainment.
Additionally, we can say that AR apps can involve children in reading. This is very essential for their development. AR books are a merge of traditional text and digital content. Using a device with a special app, such a book can add playing video, creating models from the content, or allowing different interactions with the text.
Let us show you how AR books can improve a kid’s involvement in a sooooo boring process of reading. For example, it’s possible to create an app with a quest based on a book. Reading this book will help to complete the tasks and challenges of the game. This a combination of a game with education. And this is a 100% guarantee a kid will complete the book… at least to finish the game.
There is also another option to use a book for an AR application. Imagine a kid is reading a book about wizards. Using an AR app and special markers placed in the book, different magic scenes can become real. And what if we add some interaction with the heroes? What if a kid gets a task to defeat a princess from a villain? Well, definitely a kid will complete the reading till the end of the story.
This is all about entertainment. But AR books can help with education and make it more interactive. Do you remember your history or science lessons at school? We believe they were much boring. Imagine that your kid can see historic battles or persons “alive” using AR apps. Then the kid takes some quest or quizz, which requires knowing real facts to be completed. Need some models of the Universe? Or maybe want to see how the atom looks like? With AR apps you can reach these things easily. The interaction with education stuff via technology is a better way for comprehension and remembering for new generations.
Here are some examples of AR books.
Jack Hunter: The French Connection
Animal Kingdom Education Book
Color Alive Series – Augmented Reality Coloring Books
So, the best way to understand the impact of AR games and apps on a kid is to jump into fun alongside your child. Get immersed in the game with them. Understand the environment, the community, the feeling of the game, and the safety risks first hand.l.sidorenko