In the digital age, parenting is a challenging responsibility, to say the least. Not that parenting was ever not challenging, but technology has brought today’s parents some mighty worries about their kids. Despite all its perks, technology has given rise to cyberbullying, less physical exercise, and dissociation between kids and parents.
Hence, when it comes to upbringing, the argument that tech is a double-edged sword isn’t that sound anymore. Or so believe some experts who claim the cons of raising kids with technology have outweighed the pros. Actually, some have gone as far as calling smartphones home-inhabiting “devils”.
Yet, other experts are of the notion that not all tech is created equal. To them, it’s how we design our tech that makes all the difference. If tech is designed with a focus on human experience, then our kids could be the true winners.
On that note, let’s ponder kids’ use of Augmented Reality.
At its core, AR is about building bridges, not walls. Instead of trapping kids inside fantasy worlds, AR brings elements of said worlds to kids. That way, they can interact with all sorts of virtual objects while staying connected with their real environments. It’s a technology that humanity has dreamed up in movies before even conceiving it.
But that’s just the core. Actually, it’s what developers are creating with AR that makes us believe AR is the perfect parenting companion. So without further ado, here are 4 ways AR can help you become a better parent.
1- AR offers a unique solution to the screen time pandemic
Let’s face it. If you’re a parent, that’s what you’re here for; yet another take on screen time. It’s one of the most dominant buzzwords of the decade. Parents have all sorts of questions about their kids’ screen time. Is it too much? Should they abolish it completely? But here’s an interesting question: is there good screen time and bad screen time?
Well, there seems to be a general consensus. Parents don’t like when their kids spend their time mindlessly racking up scores. Instead, they want their kids to fully engage their brains to improve their cognitive skills and learn valuable info. Plus, they also want to throw physical activity in there. And if that’s the main criteria, then AR is here to help.
Realistically speaking, consuming AR content is categorized under screen time. But at the same time, AR is a great canvas for learning. Best of all, kids don’t get to learn while lying idly. Contrarily, AR experiences encourage them to move around their environment for full immersion.
So could AR be labeled as good screen time?
For instance, take Osmo’s Pizza Co. This incredible game teaches kids to become young entrepreneurs. In Pizza Co, kids get to take over the managerial duties of a pizzeria. These include cooking pizzas, collecting payments, and dealing with customers in general. To become master entrepreneurs, they need to learn to multitask these altogether.
The game teaches them basic mathematics to manage the pizzeria’s finances. In addition, they learn how to read rooms, so to speak. That’s because the virtual customers only interact with their body language to relay their feedback to kids.
The game is suitable for kids from 5 to 12 years old. Intriguingly, it adjusts the set objectives according to the children’s aptitude. So if your kid has a knack for business, he/she will always find a satisfying challenge.
2- AR can make studying easier
One of the most innovative uses of AR is creating an augmented print. That is, to use AR to generate virtual content after scanning any print material. So far, AR aficionados have augmented business cards, brochures, and catalogs. But what if we augment student workbooks too?
Without a doubt, practice is an essential part of study for almost all subjects. To make kids’ studies easier, we need to make practice sources, workbooks, more fun and efficient. One way to do so is to make workbook problems scannable. With that, kids will be able to scan the problems to generate answers. Even, these answers could be in the form of short videos from the kids’ instructors.
Not only would that be engaging, but it could also improve kids’ memorization of learned info. According to a study, the brain area responsible for encoding memory gets almost three times activity from AR content than from non-AR content.
3- AR is a special way to reward kids
By all means, parents should be their kids’ primary motivators. To become so, they must guarantee kids are rewarded for each and every accomplishment. Speaking of which, AR can reward children for creating art.
Remember the augmented print we just discussed? Well, coloring books are another type of print that can be augmented. After kids are done channeling their inner Picasso, their paintings could come to life. Through AR, the kids’ masterpieces would be transformed into 3D animations that they could interact with. Talk about a reward!
4- AR provides a source of edification
Simply, this is where AR becomes of groundbreaking importance to parents. Perhaps, the biggest challenge when it comes to parenting is changing a kid’s behavior. Whether the behavior issues are in the form of increased hostility or laziness, reversing it is a grueling task.
But it could become less so soon with AR. This year, an experiment studied the effects of engaging in AR on behavior. The participants wore AR headsets which virtually displayed a man who conversed with them. After the conversations, participants were asked to pick a chair to sit on.
Astonishingly, 72% of the participants didn’t want to sit on the chair where the virtual man was sitting. Instead, they opted for another chair even though they had already taken the AR headsets off. Essentially, this means that AR can affect users’ behavior even post-AR experiences.
Switching gears, there is another way AR can affect behavior. Have you ever heard of the Proteus Effect? It describes the influence a virtual avatar can have on its own creator/human user. Basically, if a user sees his/her avatar physically training and losing weight, he/she would be inspired to train too.
And what better medium to create 3D avatars for than AR? These avatars would be right in your living room, playing with your kids and encouraging good habits. There’s nothing more a parent could ask for, I’d assume.