By Pratik Desai
Boffins at Warwick University have claimed their virtual reality bullying simulator will help victims cope with the stress of being taunted.
FearNot! creates a virtual school with 3D pupils that can be set to bully, look like an easy target or sit meekly in fear of attracting unwanted attention.
These virtual bullies, victims and bystanders are then used to “improvise real-life bullying incidents”. With the virtual classroom bear pit set in motion, real children can wade in with their own ways to deal with the virtua-bullies.
Acting out verbal and physical bullying scenarios, virtual kids do not follow script and are “intelligent agents” that learn from their past experience. So the real world kids can’t get amusement from convincing the on-screen weed to fight the Neanderthal who lurks in the back row.
Primary school kids tested in the UK and Germany were found to experience a 26 per cent decrease in “victimisation” after having used the software. Presumably that makes the remaining 74 per cent of victimisation more tolerable. Full story.