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Is Virtual Reality Safe For Kids?

A Child Wearing a VR Headset

There's been an enormous growth of Virtual Reality applications in education and entertainment. Companies like Disney are busy converting movies to be shown in a 360 degree and 4K interactive content. 

As with many technologies, parents are often behind their kids in understanding what VR is and what content is available. This article is designed for parents looking for guidance on Virtual Reality: for their kids, appropriate channels, and educational content. 

Age And VR Headsets

While most major VR headset manufacturers suggest a 13-plus age restriction on their devices, there are parental controls and programs designed specifically for younger ages.

For kids using virtual reality, safety should always be the primary concern. First, you have to remember that you are blind to your actual surroundings when wearing a VR headset, and many of these games foster movement. 

It's essential to pick a place in the home away from hard objects or separated from the furniture. Oculus and HTC let you program in virtual barriers to match the room's size, so you know when to stop and turn around. However, this is not foolproof. 

For those of you who have children under the age of 13, here are a few things to remember: 1. Monitoring their usage is pertinent as children can hurt their brains during long episodes of VR, and there are some safety precautions to remember. 

2. If you feel your child has better impulse control and better self-awareness, monitoring their content and engagement is still relevant. 

3. Whether you have a device connected to a gaming computer with high RAM or a standalone device, there are still opportunities for children to click around and find inappropriate material.

What Does The Research Show? There is a lack of data concerning the guidelines and potential side effects for children under the age of 13.

 According to Marientina Gotsis, director of the Creative Media & Behavioral Health Center at the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts, not a lot.

" We do not have enough data on the safety of current VR technology for children," she told Live Science. "So, the sparsity of research data and what we know about neuroplasticity [the brain's ability to reorganize itself] and children does not make me comfortable to recommend what is available now as is... For obvious ethical reasons, it's very difficult to do research using children as subjects".

Kid-Friendly Games

Along with closer supervision, Vr has become popular and is a great gift. There are tons of games and experiences for kids of all ages. A few of the potentially hundreds of kid-oriented games include: 

• Pet Lab: It is based on the famous game Tamagochi but in virtual reality. ...

• Minecraft Gear VR. The famous Minecraft game now moves to virtual reality in Oculus Go. ...

• Star map: If your child is a fan of the stars and the solar system, they will love this game

For the developing child's expanding mind, Virtual Reality plays an integral role in education and entertainment as immersive technologies become more important in schools and the general learning environment.

Whether sitting, standing, or playing with friends, Virtual Reality is a real source of growth, if properly managed and supervised by an adult.



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