Feeds

Boffins develop virtual reality anti-bullying game

One in the eye for the Muntzes

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

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.

Intelligent agents

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.

Interestingly, the UK kids responded better than German kids. According to lead researcher Professor Wolke, this is due to kids in the UK starting school earlier and having "a higher reading age".

Sadly the study also found that this reduction was short-lived. But the professor suggested longer term use of the software would help to sustain the positive results. So taking kids out of class to play games will help them stop being bullied when back in the class?

The professor also suggested that this kind of software could also help other kinds of social problems like social anxiety.

At least, any kind of software that needs repeated use in order to allow a limited respite for those with social dysfunction has to be a better alternative than WoW.

*EU project coordinator Ruth Aylett got in touch to say that Warwick boffins did not act alone. Aylett said: "The technology development was carried out by the Universities Heriot-Watt, Sunderland and Hertfortdshire in the Uk, Augnsburg in Germany, the research centre INESC-ID in Portugal and the company Interagens in Italy. The evaluation reported by Warwick also involved colleagues at Universities in Bamberg and Wuerzburg in Germany. And none of this would have happened without funding from the EU FP6 programme. Credit where credit is due please!"

Happy to oblige. ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Our LOHAN spaceplane ballocket Kickstarter climbs through £8000
Through 25 per cent but more is needed: Get your UNIQUE rewards!
LOHAN tunes into ultra long range radio
And verily, Vultures shall speak status unto distant receivers
NASA to reformat Opportunity rover's memory from 125 million miles away
Interplanetary admins will back up data and get to work
SpaceX prototype rocket EXPLODES over Texas. 'Tricky' biz, says Elon Musk
No injuries or near injuries. Flight stayed in designated area
EOS, Lockheed to track space junk from Oz
WA facility gets laser-eyes out of the fog
Volcanic eruption in Iceland triggers CODE RED aviation warning
Lava-spitting Bárðarbunga prompts action from Met Office
LOHAN Kickstarter push breaks TWELVE THOUSAND POUNDS
That's right, folks, you've stumped up OVER 9,000 beer tokens - and counting
prev story

Whitepapers

Endpoint data privacy in the cloud is easier than you think
Innovations in encryption and storage resolve issues of data privacy and key requirements for companies to look for in a solution.
Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
Advanced data protection for your virtualized environments
Find a natural fit for optimizing protection for the often resource-constrained data protection process found in virtual environments.
Boost IT visibility and business value
How building a great service catalog relieves pressure points and demonstrates the value of IT service management.
Next gen security for virtualised datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.