VR Permission and Waiver Forms

Young girl looks up wearing VR headset.Exploring the world in virtual reality means no field trip permission slips, no travel logistics, and lightens the financial and liability load on an educational institution, but we still can’t escape all permission slips and waivers. Lately, there have been requests and discussions in our Educators in VR Discord server about Virtual Reality Waivers and Permission Forms for underage students and the general public to be used in schools, libraries, and for public demonstration events. We went digging and found there are some good examples online.

Each public or student use of virtual devices varies per usage, device, physical setting (VR lab versus a chair in a library), student limitations, facility limitations, event or class outcomes, number of participants, etc. The permission and waiver should represent the specifics of the situation as well as the needs of your institution and facilities. Use the examples below to help you write your proposed waivers and review them with your administrators and legal representatives.

Let’s review the details that make a virtual reality waiver and permission form distinctive from other parental and guardian approval forms for students and for general use of VR in libraries and other public facilities.

Privacy and Age Restrictions

Privacy is a big issue for all online activities and apps, and VR is no exception.

Children of South Carolina Air National Guard Airmen participate in the S.C. Military Kids program at McEntire Joint National Guard Base, Sept. 17, 2017. SCANG youth experienced virtual reality goggles, drone flying, unplugged coding, computer science and expeditions during the two-day event, which introduces youth to possible careers. SCMK is designed to provide support to the children and youth of families that are impacted by global contingency operations. (U.S. Air National Guard photo by Master Sgt. Caycee Watson)

Children of South Carolina Air National Guard Airmen participate in the S.C. Military Kids program at McEntire Joint National Guard Base.

Any information disclosed through registrations or interactions online through software, apps, or online access come under several international privacy laws. The EU GDPR and other privacy laws, with which most of the world complies, applies to children under the age of 13. In general, under 13 should not access most Oculus VR, PlayStation, Steam, and other VR stores, and social VR apps like AltspaceVR, VR Chat, etc. Individually, countries and states have various age restrictions in general ranging from 12-16. The form should comply with your local laws as well as your institution’s requirements so users agree to abide by the privacy policy. Be aware that individual virtual apps also have age restrictions of their own, including age usage recommendations.

While it is beyond the scope of this informational article to discuss the pros and cons of such age law restrictions, be aware that there are many VR apps and games designs for under 13. These are not social or multi-player but individual, one-person experiences. Library and educational institutions preinstall apps for students and user access, controlling access and restricting usage to age-appropriate content, often clarified in the waiver. Continue reading