Virtual Risk Management (VirMA) – Exploring effects of childhood risk experiences through innovative methods


Research shows that risky play (such as climbing trees or exploring independently) is important for children’s development and wellbeing. Risky play may also help the development of children’s risk assessment and management skills – how they manage physical risks in their every day lives. With Professor Ellen Beate Hansen Sandseter, a researcher from Norway, we are studying how children deal with risk in everyday situations using an innovative virtual reality (VR) technology.

In this study, children aged 8-10 (grades 3-5) will wear VR glasses to complete three virtual challenging tasks within the safety of the VR environment. This includes:

  • crossing a road with car and bike traffic;
  • crossing a river; and,
  • getting from point A to point B on a balancing frame.

Then, we will interview the children to learn more about their motor skills at tasks such as jumping and running. We will also ask hem about their preferences toward taking risks.

The same study is being conducted in Norway and we will compare the data between Canadian and Norwegian children. We are hoping to make recommendations for children’s risky play opportunities from the findings from this study.

Funding information

Generously funded by the Research Council of Norway/Norges forskningsråd