Can Virtual Reality Foster Global Citizenship?
Julia Carmel

Virtual Reality has already been doing this for years.

Almost a decade ago I experienced a war situation designed to help soldiers deal with their PTSD, I’ve visited Victorian slums, crossed WW1 trenches, visited distant countries, witness poverty, racism and met people from all over the world.

In the virtual online world of Second Life people have been doing all that and more for over 13 years.

Just because the media only concentrated on the adult entertainment side of it and sort of forgot all about the oldest, biggest and most experienced user generated VR experience to this day, its story and value has been neglected.

And now that VR is making a comeback, suddenly everyone is interested again but seem to forget that VR existed before the headsets became available to the general public.

VR is not the hardware, it is the software, it is the pixels, the computer generated worlds, not the plastic box you wear in front of your eyes.

Of course, the new head mounted displays will increase the effect of VR immensely, I’ve walked through the streets of 1920s Berlin in Second Life with and without a headset and the difference was imense.
Nevertheless, the visits I made and make without the headset didn’t diminish in value.

Just because we now also use kindles or tablets to read books, doesn’t mean the stories we read had not been around when they were still only available on paper.

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