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Asking Ethical Questions in Research using Immersive Virtual and Augmented Reality Technologies with Children and Youth

Asking Ethical Questions in Research using Immersive Virtual and
Augmented Reality Technologies with Children and Youth
By
Erica Southgate
School of Education
The University of Newcastle,
Australia
Shamus P. Smith
School of Electrical Engineering
and Computing
The University of Newcastle,
Australia
Jill Scevak
School of Education
The University of Newcastle,
Australia
ABSTRACT
The increasing availability of intensely immersive virtual, augmented and mixed reality experiences using head-mounted displays (HMD) has prompted deliberations about the ethical implications of using such technology to resolve technical issues and explore
the complex cognitive, behavioral and social dynamics of human ‘virtuality’. However, little is known about the impact such immersive experiences will have on children (aged 0-18 years). This paper outlines perspectives on child development to present concep-
tual and practical frameworks for conducting ethical research with children using immersive HMD technologies. The paper addresses not only procedural ethics (gaining institutional approval) but also ethics-in-practice (on-going ethical decision-making).
Keywords: Ethics, virtual reality, augmented reality, mixed reality, children, adolescents, evaluation, child development.
INTRODUCTION
“After all the commotion around sexism in video games, how has this been able to happen?…A new video game set for release on PlayStation’s virtual reality system is allowing people to sexually assault female characters. . . A video from Gamer.ne.jp demonstrated the disgusting feature, which allows players to continually touch
a woman who is verbally protesting. . . (I)t will be interesting to see if Sony intervene and remove the feature as the game. . . is scheduled for release the same day as
PlayStation VR.” [16].
The increasing commercial availability of intensely immersive virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) and mixed reality (MR) experiences, mediated through the use of head-mounted display (HMD) technology such as Oculus Rift, Vive and HoloLens, has produced a popular cultural ‘buzz’ about the future of leisure and learning. At a more philosophical level, the highly immersive qualities of new VR, AR and MR have prompted serious deliberation on the ethical implications of using such technology with humans to resolve technical issues and explore the complex cognitive, behavioral and social dynamics of human ‘virtuality’ [32]. The intense sense of presence and co-presence reported in new and….
For full paper, see;
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The Author

Chinenye Nwabueze

He is a Senior Lecturer in the Department of Mass Communication, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu University, COOU, (formerly Anambra State University), Igbariam Campus.

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