Schools in the United Kingdom are introducing VR knife crime lessons to teach young children about the impact of bladed weapons. Introduced to Birmingham schools, the virtual reality experience aims to improve knowledge of knife crimes in the UK.
Dubbed Virtual_Decisions: Knives, the VR knife crime lessons place school children in a virtual recreation of the city of Birmingham. In the VR world, school children are asked to make decisions to either escalate or deescalate a knife-based crime.
Created by educational tech company Round Midnight, the experience is designed to be used by children aged 11 to 14. Via the BBC, over 15,000 children have currently been exposed to the virtual reality educational experience.
“Participants can experience the consequences of their decisions through the use of high-end VR headsets, which incorporate haptic feedback and 180˚ social interaction to immerse participants in unique scenarios,” Round Midnight explains.
After the virtual reality experience is done, the workshop ends with a speech from creator Adam Ahmed. In the speech, shown via a short film, Ahmed explains that he lost a family member due to knife crime eight years ago.
“A lot of young people that commit certain offences, they are not criminals,” Ahmed tells viewers. “They are just responding to a situation where they are scared."
Knife crime in the United Kingdom is currently increasing at a concerning rate. While it’s nowhere near as prevalent as gun crime in America, the rapidly increasing number of stabbing in the UK is concerning.
From May 2021 to May 2022, 836 children aged 16 and under were harmed due to knife crime. 360 children were arrested for knife crimes, double the amount just five years prior.
Round Midnight hopes that its virtual reality demonstrations will be able to help circumvent the rise of knife crime in the United Kingdom. The edutainment company aims to create more of its Virtual_Decisions workshops to inform children about the world.