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How Virtual Reality Can Hurt Your Kids

How Virtual Reality Can Hurt Your Kids

January 17, 2018
By Bary Gassman

According to new studies, virtual reality headsets pose health risks to users, particularly to children. Scientists at Leeds University in the U.K. have found evidence that links the continual use of virtual reality headsets to a variety of health problems in children. Studies show links to disorientation and confusion, dizziness, headaches, balance problems, and severe eye strain when wearing virtual headsets on a continuing basis. Leeds University has been working in close collaboration with British companies who manufacture virtually reality equipment. The studies are among the first to be carried out to show the health effects on users of virtual reality headsets.

Is Virtual Reality Hurting Your Kids?

In virtual reality devices, a virtual three-dimensional world is displayed on a 2D screen. Scientists state that this places a strain on cognitive functions and vision. To test the health effects of the headsets, scientists studied children from age eight through age 12 who used the headsets to play a 20-minute game, then examined them after the game. Although exams showed no serious deterioration in eyesight, they did show significant problems with disorientation, dizziness, and balance problems, even after a 20-minute game.

Virtual reality devices are expected to play a significant role in technology over the next few decades. Many companies are already producing virtual reality computer games and apps. YouTube and Facebook currently have 360-degree videos, and film-makers are exploring the possibilities for animation and documentaries. The medical and dental fields are currently using virtual reality devices to study tumors, wounds, personal injuries and to examine teeth.

Virtual reality devices are especially popular with children and young adults who use them to play computer games. Virtual reality computer games allow players to immerse themselves in the game with 3D graphics and 360-degree views. By putting on virtual reality headsets, players can watch the computer game unfold on a large television screen instead of a small computer or smartphone screen.

The increased interest and popularity of virtual reality devices creates major health risks for children. Although recent studies already reveal problems linked to virtual reality headsets, the long-term health consequences on children are currently unknown. Research shows that the majority of parents who allow their children to use virtual reality devices are unaware that any health risks exist.

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