Leeds University Researchers Worry About Effect of VR Headsets on Young Children

Virtual reality is a pretty amazing piece of technology. Immersive and realistic experiences have never been done better. At the same time, no one will deny there are some health concerns associated with VR. Especially when it comes to young children, the risks appear to be very real. A VR headset looks futuristic and may appear suited for children, but it is best to let them be kids rather than VR enthusiasts right now.

Children and VR Headsets Don’t mix Well

No one should be surprised to hear VR headsets are harmful. Both children and adults may suffer from some minor – or major – inconveniences while wearing a VR headset. New research shows how the long-term effects can be quite dire for children. Continued exposure to VR content may trigger eyesight and balance problems. That is a very disturbing development, to say the very least.

At the same time, these issues can affect adults as well.It makes sense children will be far more susceptible to these issues. The big question is how we can alleviate these concerns in a quick and convenient manner. Hardware companies are moving toward using mobile devices for VR headsets, which will only compound these issues even further. It is evident we need a solution soon. However, it will require major changes to VR hardware, which will not be easily achieved.

Leeds University professor Mark Mon-Williams states:

“In a VR device, a virtual three-dimensional world is displayed on a 2D screen and that places strain on the human visual system. In adults, that can lead to headaches and sore eyes. But with children, the long-term consequences are simply unknown.”

Although the research is still in the early stages, the first tests revealed something interesting. Eyesight itself isn’t affected by a 20-minute session. However, there are children who can’t detect differences in distances accurately for a while. Some even show issues with their balance after just one 20-minute session. Imagine if they did this for an hour, five days out of the week. There is no telling how bad things can get in this regard. It is well worth paying attention to this type of research, that much is certain.

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