How to Make Virtual Reality Safe for Kids?
Virtual Reality (VR) is a new popular technology that creates a simulated environment you can explore in a 360 view. Unlike traditional interfaces, VR places the user inside a virtual environment to give an immersive experience that allows users to have a whole sensual experience using a VR headset. OculusRift, Samsung GearVR, HTC Vive, Google Daydream View, and Google Cardboard are companies that provide VR headsets. These headsets block most senses and vision of the real world and then feed simulated videos to each eye allowing for depth of vision. Virtual Reality headsets are supported by head and body tracking to connect the virtual world to what users see and feel. Make Virtual Reality Safe for Kids
The entertainment industry was the first to incorporate virtual reality technology. Since gaming and 3-D games began, gamers have been dreaming of this life-changing device that allows them to feel the gaming environment better and with all senses, enhancing the excitement and fun.
The Dark Side of Virtual Reality
Most parents who purchase VR headsets for their children aren’t aware of the fact that they have been primarily built for adults and most companies prohibit the use of VR headsets by minors.
Meta has set a minimum age of 13 years old for the use of VR hardware. However, this age restriction does not prevent kids from playing in virtual reality. Most VR headsets don’t have parental control options for children that allow a responsible adult to block inappropriate content. Make Virtual Reality SafeVirtual reality effects on children are still unknown, and there hasn’t been any major research as VR is a new phenomenon. Although some studies suggest that being exposed to VR may affect children’s visual systems, medical issues are not the only concern. There are also psychological concerns. There are some doubts about whether spending too much time in the virtual world can affect the sense of differentiation regarding the real world from the virtual world in children. Also, given the fact that thanks to VR headsets can help with the excitement and the game sensation, VR games can be very addictive compared to 2dimensional games.
Make Virtual Reality Safe
But to be fair, playing VR games forces individuals to participate in more physical actions without them realizing how active they have been. This alone can be a grand success when it comes to maintaining physical health, considering how one of the main causes of obesity in most children, especially gamers, is spending too much time on the chair, behind a desk, and clicking a mouse repeatedly.
On the other hand, some experiences are unsuitable for kids, such as adult or horror games where kids can be exposed to pornography and cyberbullying on another level. This is true for every medium and is not only restricted to VR, but we know that VR is more immersive, and the experience is more intense.
Michael Madary mentioned in an article
"In VR, you have an entire environment designed by someone who may want to manipulate you, whether it's for advertising, for political or religious reasons."
He added, "If you have a child spending a long time immersed in a VR environment where manipulation is going on, it could be seen as a threat to their autonomy and what kind of adult they become."
How to Make VR a Safer Space for Children?
- Restrict your searches: Limit your online searches to positive content, life-enhancing, and educational experiences that enrich kids’ lives.
- Research the games ahead: check the reviews and the game content, and test the games your child installs first before permitting them to play.
- Be present and Monitor the games: Set a period for when your child can spend gaming and exploring with VR. And Always try to be present and monitor your child’s behavior and feelings while playing different games for the first time. Watch out for any uncommon physical and psychological symptoms like dizziness, nausea, and aggressive or depressive behaviors. If your child starts to feel bad, it indicates that it is time to stop.
- Communicate: It’s beneficial to ask about your child’s experiences in virtual reality and figure out how it makes them feel, and if there is something that makes them uncomfortable.
to learn more about the advantages and disadvantages of VR on children and adults check out Safes Blogs.