Are Virtual Reality (VR) Headsets Unsafe for Kids?

7 mins read
Are Virtual Reality (VR) Headsets Unsafe for Kids?

Virtual reality (VR) is a rapidly developing technology that is gaining increasing appeal among children and teenagers.

To experience virtual reality, you must wear a virtual reality (VR) headset, which recreates a simulated environment in which a person may explore in 360 degrees, hear exciting noises, and interact with the world around them in an amazing way.

With VR headsets topping kids’ and children’s Christmas lists all around the world, but several VR headsets having age limits, is the technology safe for young children to explore? Let’s look at some of the specifics of this exciting new technology.

For those under the age of 13, the Oculus Rift and Samsung’s Gear VR headsets are recommended, whereas Sony’s PlayStation VR system is designed for ages 12 and up.

According to HTC, the company, the Vive isn’t meant for children and young children shouldn’t be permitted to utilize the headset at all. Google stated that its low-tech Cardboard headset should only be used by youngsters under adult supervision.

Not much, according to Marientina Gotsis, director of the Behavioral Health Center at USC’s School of Cinematic Arts. “There isn’t a lot of scientific evidence,” she says.

Although VR technology is new, Dr. Gotsis draws attention to the scarcity of research data in this area due to ethical and legal constraints. It’s also tough to conduct research on kids because of ethical and regulatory issues. Gotsis becomes irritated when children use VR without a break. Her argument has some merit.

Children at a young age might fail to emphatically discern between reality and fantasy, leading to upbringing issues.

VR AND ITS EFFECT ON BRAIN DEVELOPMENT

In a research done on rats at the University of California, it was discovered that neurons in a specific brain region linked to spatial learning behavior were altered in virtual environments. When exposed to virtual reality, more than half of the neurons shut down.

Even though these findings may or may not apply to people, what this research indicates is that there is a vital need for further study on the long-term effects of VR technology, especially on young children.

The scientists said it was too soon to tell what this implies for humans, but that it underlined the necessity for further study on the long-term affects of VR.

Gotsis believes VR has the potential to have an even bigger influence on children’s developing brains. Her facility, which focuses on mental and behavioral health research, employs entertainment technology, including VR. She has worked on VR applications for youngsters, but only in controlled environments.

“The brain is very plastic in young ages, and prolonged exposure with improperly fitted devices could incur damage,” she said. “Children also may not understand how to communicate eyestrain and may lack reflexes to remove the devices if they find them uncomfortable.”

If youngsters are wearing digital glasses, they may not be able to comprehend how to communicate eyestrain and even lack the reflexes to take off their gadgets if they feel confined. Worse, they may become too absorbed in gaming and lose sight of their discomfort.

VR AND ITS EFFECTS ON YOUR KIDS VISION

One of the most common worries that parents have about virtual reality headsets is their effect on eyesight. According to the American Academy of Ophthalmology, staring at a VR headset screen (or any other digital device for that matter) without stopping may induce eye strain or eye tiredness.

When you’re using a VR headset, your eyelids are less likely to blink than they would be otherwise. This might cause the front surface of the eyes to dry out, causing tiredness.

Another difficulty with VR is the rivalry between vergence and accommodation. When you look at the world normally, your eyes first point and then focus the lenses—vergence and accommodation—on an item, after which they are linked to form a sensible image.

Virtual reality headsets create the illusion of depth by projecting each eye with a slightly different image on a flat screen. As a consequence, no matter how far away an object appears, the eyes remain focused on a single point while converging in virtual distance.

When viewing a still picture with motion, the brain receives the same visual messages that it would if viewing real physical motion. That is why virtual reality (VR) materials may also cause dizziness. If your kid gets sick on a rollercoaster, he’s probably going to get nauseated in VR as well.

Conclusion

When it comes to gizmos like virtual reality headsets, there’s a system created by someone who intends to use your kid for marketing, politics, or even religion.

As a consequence, if your kid spends too much time immersed in his/her VR world where he or she is manipulating things, he or she will lose track of the real world.

Virtual reality has the potential to be a valuable tool, but with the ability to supplement and improve education and healthcare, tech experts urge that VR manufacturers work with scientists and researchers to carefully study the long-term consequences of VR technology. Until then, parental supervision is required for children using virtual reality.

If you can monitor what your children are doing with their VR headset and limit how much time they spend using them, you’ll be less concerned about VR’s potential health or behavioral effects.

Even if VR holds considerable promise, including for educational and therapeutic purposes, Experts have warned manufacturers must work with scientists to study the technology’s long-term effects. He also recommends taking a cautious approach until more is understood.