Sapouna, M., Wolke, D., Vannini, N., Watson, S., Woods, S., Schneider, W., Enz, S., Hall, L., Paiva, A., ndre’, E., Dautenhahn, K., and Aylett, R. (2010). Virtual learning intervention to reduce bullying victimization in primary school: A controlled trial. Journal of Child Psychology and Psychiatry 51:1, pp 104–112 doi:10.1111/j.1469-7610.2009.02137.x
Instead of targeting a reduction in bullying, this study attempts to use virtual reality to help victims of bullying improve their coping skills. Method is aimed at improving the student’s problem solving capabilities when exposed to stress from bullying, by immersing them in similar environments where their choices are evaluated in private. Primary school students were put into the virtual world of bullying, and asked to type in their suggested coping responses. They could then see the results of their suggestions.
Students in the study were exposed to the FearNot! immersive/virtual bullying program for three weeks, 30 minutes per week. Teachers were instructed not to assist beyond comprehension assistance. Results showed a positive correlation between the virtual intervention and victimization. Students who dealt with bullying virtually, were better off dealing with it in reality.
The implications of this study are significant in that they show the possibility or behavioral change through virtual environments. The individual experiencing something in a simulated environment, requiring learners to go through the mental process, living the scenario in a variety of outcomes, is a way to prepare for difficulties in reality. This is the case in simulations as well, and can be applied to my research.