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This VR Campaign Encourages Nervous Children to Swim

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VR exposure therapy can help inspire children to learn how to swim.

When it comes to life skills, swimming can be one of the most important life saving skills to learn.

With one in five Swedish children unable to swim, one European energy company is hoping to change that statistic with the help of virtual reality.

Energy company E.ON, the Swedish Swimming Federation and M&C Saatchi Stockholm have partnered up to launch a campaign that uses VR to encourage nervous children into the water.

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Despite the fact these children live in a land of lakes that is surrounded by sea, sometimes the hardest part of learning how to swim is just getting comfortable in the water.

The campaign introduces a group of children who are afraid of the water — they say things like, “It doesn’t feel very nice,” and, “I’m sad when my friends swim but I can’t” — and uses VR exposure therapy to address their fears.

Exposure therapy can be a useful tool to address fears, which we recently saw used in Samsung Nordic’s Gear VR campaign that put individuals face to face with their fear of spiders.

Psychologist Philip Lindner tells viewers in the campaign video, “Shorter exposure can help people experience fun things they’ve previously missed out on, and create motivation to change.”

So to create a fun and engaging experience for the children, a 360° video was shot that introduces them to three members of the Swedish swim team. The friendly swim team members escort them into the water and help the children to overcome their fears with a virtual plunge in the pool.

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The reactions of the children are all captured on camera in the campaign video as they experience swimming while wearing a cardboard viewer.

Later, the children are taken to a real pool to meet the same swimmers, who encourage them into the water where they play happily and begin to learn to swim for themselves.

The children’s response to the water is completely changed by the VR experience. They say things like, “I was in the water in a second,” “I think that’s what I want to do when I grow up,” and “It feels good to be under water now.”

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The film finishes by inviting viewers to go to E.ON’s website to order free VR goggles and find their nearest swimming pool.

About the Scout

Jonathan Nafarrete

Jonathan Nafarrete is the co-founder and editor-in-chief of VRScout.

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