Virtual Reality (VR) is still new technology and its effects to health, especially on children, haven't been fully studied by experts. (Photo : Jonathan Leibson/Getty Images for Samsung)
Virtual reality (VR) gear or the VR headset is one of the most wanted gifts among youngsters for Christmas. But before parents spend their hard-earned money on this gadget and become the generous Santa Claus this holiday, here are things to know about the use of VR headset in teens and children.
VR headsets are ideally used for enhancing video gaming experience that can be attached to a console or a smartphone. Among the most popular ones are the Sony PlayStation VR (PSVR), Oculus Rift, Samsung VR Gear and HTC Vive. Their prices vary depending on the features and capabilities. New Atlas provides a guide on these specifics.
Doctors, however, warn that these popular gadgets have a user age limit. Their makers have explicitly stated this in its marketing and packaging. For most of the gear, children below 13-years-old are not advised to use PSVR, Samsung Gear or Oculus Rift.
"The immediate concerns are with the younger users because they will be prone to use them for much longer periods of time," Dr. Joseph Rizzo said, per CBS Boston. Ideally, even adults who use VR headsets should take at least 15-minute breaks within an hour of gameplay.
There are VR headsets that are less harmful for children though and they are also less hurtful for the parents' budget. CNN cites Google Cardboard and View-Master Virtual Reality as appropriate for kids. The downside is because these are hundreds of dollars cheaper, the gadgets offer less features. Yet the kids will still be able to experience what virtual reality is all about.
Regardless of the VR headset used, however, parents are advised to closely monitor their teens and children when playing using virtual reality. For now, there is still little research on the effects of VR headsets to health since this is new technology, hence the doctors are cautious.
The best course would be to use VR headsets in moderation. Learn more about virtual reality and its effects on children in this video below.