Background. This study analyzes the characteristics of modern teenagers’ involvement in virtual reality (VR). It also examines various approaches to VR in Russian science. In the current study the concept of virtual reality is defined as a particular informational environment in which a person can exist and develop. It is created by a special class of technical systems, formed on the basis of computer hypertext technology, and has a number of social and psychological characteristics. We pay special attention to the significance of virtual space for generation Z (according to the William Strauss and Neil Howe generational theory). The main factor determining the unique psychological features of the generation Z is its active involvement in virtual reality from the moment of birth. Involvement in a virtual reality is measurable by a teenager’s activity on the Internet.
Objective. Our study set out to determine the level of Russian generation Z’s involvement in virtual reality.
Design. We analyzed the results of a survey conducted among Moscow adolescents using multivariate profiles. Two hundred fifty-four teenagers 12-14 years old were interviewed during the study.
Results and conclusion. Analysis of the data revealed the following: Modern teenagers are involved in VR with varying degrees of depth; their main type of activity on the Internet is searching for educational information and news; and no significant differences by gender in the purposes of using the Internet were found. However, it was also determined that girls’ activity in VR is more related to communication and interpersonal interaction, even though it’s indirect via the Internet, while boys prefer the “gaming” possibilities of VR; that teenagers are rather critical of the information they obtain by the Internet, and that their level of trust in the online information is low. The same trend is evident in the fact that students prefer not to make new friends in virtual reality.
Keywords: virtual reality (VR), generation Z, involvement, Internet, socialization