YouTube Launches ' Project Witness', Using VR as a Tool to Raise Awareness Around Social Issues

This post was originally published in this website.

This is a somewhat harrowing experience – but an important one nonetheless.

This week, YouTube has launched a new VR experience called ‘Project Witness‘ which aims to raise awareness about the conditions incarcerated children face, and the significant impacts that they can subsequently have on their lives.

As explained by YouTube:

“The VR film anchors the viewer in the experience of an incarcerated child. You’re able to see and hear the experience of being in solitary confinement from the viewpoint of a child in an adult prison. YouTube is a powerful platform for so much more than entertainment – from advocacy to education and awareness – that is open and accessible by everyone. VR is a unique format to pull the viewer into the story.”

The film is indeed challenging, but it makes a strong point. And when you also consider that youth who are incarcerated are 39% less likely to finish high school, and over 2/3 of jailed children re-offend within 12 months of release, the impacts of this system are very clear.

It’s also interesting to see how VR can be used as an immersive storytelling platform in order to communicate another perspective. Up till now, books and movies have been our best window into the viewpoint of another human, but VR takes that to a whole other level, which may make it an even more effective vehicle for communicating messages like this.

That could become increasingly important – with societal divisions seemingly exacerbated in recent times, maybe a little perspective will go a long way to making people change their minds, on a range of issues.

You can read more about Project Witness, and watch the VR video, here.

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