The proliferation of virtual reality access is introducing new ways to experience media. But we don’t only refer to the typical content you find online; journalism is also taking advantage of VR to put you right in the news and bring awareness about important issues.
The Guardian has just released a new VR experience named “6×9”, which places you right in a USA solitary confinement cell measuring… well, 6×9. This experience will take you through the psychological damage that comes with spending 23 hours a day in one of these cells.
Needless to say it won’t be a pleasing time, but it will be interesting and grant you a whole other level of understanding in the matter. Prisoners can stay in these spaces for weeks, months or even years, based on the idea that it is for safety, protection or punishment.
Once you go ahead and experience “6×9”, take into consideration that over 80,000 people find themselves living through something similar today. A 2013 GAO report stated that about 7.1% of American prisoners were living through these conditions.
Having no human interaction and being locked in a small space has negative effects on your mind’s health. An American Journal of Public Health study shows that those punished in solitary confinement are 6.9 times as likely to commit acts of self-harm, and chances of mental illness also increase. You can read the full report here.
Of course, opinions on this matter can be quite controversial. Some believe in the safety solitary confinement can provide, while others think it’s inhumane. Regardless of what you think, I believe going through this VR experience is worth a try, at least to keep yourself a bit more educated on the matter.