Virtual reality is undoubtedly a magnificent lead forward in technology. We now have at our fingertips a variety of devices that create virtual reality and allow us to experience the world in a totally different way. In decades past, virtual reality was just a dream – scientists and developers dabbled with the technology but it was not until the last 5-10 years that we have seen it brought to the public.
VR headsets are now commonplace and you can even buy headsets that are compatible with your smartphone. Now that they are much more common, people are becoming wary of the technology, and are wondering if it has any side effects – is VR technology safe? Can children use this technology without any long-term side effects? These are all perfectly reasonable questions and we aim to ease any concerns you may have below:
A potential health risk for children under 10
There have been studies and data that show virtual reality headsets could be detrimental for children under 10 years old. Children below this age are still developing – their bodies are still growing and their mental and physical features are still evolving too. Using VR devices for prolonged periods of time could potentially affect their development and even negatively impact balance and hand-eye coordination. This is why most VR headsets actually have age restrictions or a usage warning. We are not saying that a child under 10 should never use a VR headset, but as a responsible parent, you should limit their usage accordingly.
Minor health concerns for children and adults over 10
For children over 10 and adults, VR headsets do pose some minor side effects. For example, if you suffer from motion sickness, using a VR device for a long period of time could make you feel disorientated and dizzy. Furthermore, prolonged usage could also cause irritation for your eyes and make them feel sore. Finally, VR technology can limit your spatial awareness and lead to bumps and bruises. As with any type of technology, exercise caution and moderation!
Inconclusive medical and scientific studies to prove to the contrary
As you can see, the associated side effects and health concerns when using VR technology are minimal and as of yet, there have been no long-term negative consequences discovered. One thing to remember however is that VR technology is still relatively new – scientists and researchers are only beginning to understand this technology and how it interacts with our mind. For all we know, in 10 years’ time, we could find out that using a VR headset on a daily basis can have long-term effects on our body. To counteract this, however, the technology is constantly improving so any potential dangers would be spotted and rectified.
We hope you have found this information useful – as you can see, VR technology is not without its drawbacks. As with most forms of visual and sensory technology, however, the key is moderation – if you use your headset sparingly and monitor your children’s usage of their devices, there should be no long-lasting effects at all.