Once upon a time, parents worried about their children playing video games. They were worried that the games would overstimulate the kids and cause them to become violent. Those fears went largely by the wayside, but now a new concern has arisen: the VR headset. Should parents let their kids play with a VR headset?
The truth of the matter is that VR is too new of a technology for anyone to know what the drawbacks of kids using them are. In the meantime, follow instinct, monitor use, and try to prevent children from viewing things they shouldn’t. Following are some things parents need to be aware of when letting their kids use VR technology.
Monitor What the Kids Are Downloading
Image via Flickr by kenjoey
Keeping the kids from watching stuff they shouldn’t be, sometimes feels like a game of Whack-A- Mole. As tempting as it might be to give up, don’t. Virtual reality technology is an area that’s ripe for adult content. Young minds aren’t ready for the imagery that VR can produce. Use monitoring software to make sure the kids are only downloading what they should and prevent them from getting their hands on stuff they shouldn’t.
Also, if you allow your children to play internet games with a social nature, always be aware that other users may try to expose your children to inappropriate images or language. Sexual harassment and indecent exposure are real risks.
Focus on Educational Software Use
VR offers a whole new way of learning for children. Educational software can take advantage of the nature of VR by teaching motor skills and coordination on a whole new level. Older children benefit as VR software helps teach them about their world by encouraging them to reach out and identify objects in their field of vision. In a sense, VR turns learning into a game, but it imparts information in an effective and retainable way.
Some children are known as visual learners while others learn through the written word. Either type of learner can benefit from the ways in which VR walks them through a task, but it offers a special advantage to those who are visual learners. It helps them keep up with the group as they learn the same material in a different way.
Be Mindful of Visual Development
Vision is the only thing that has the potential to suffer harm from a VR headset. Physicians are hypothesizing that a permanent squint could form or the eyes could develop an abnormal alignment. Children younger than 7 years of age should be discouraged from using a headset for any length of time, and those 7 and above should have their use monitored.
Mental stimulation for development may also be at risk due to the immersive nature of VR. However, no studies have been performed to back up or dismiss the theory. Parents need to use their own judgment as to how long their child uses the headset. However, the less time spent using the headset, the better.
Virtual reality is in its infancy, but it has a lot of promise for teaching children about the world around them. Encourage children to use their headset responsibly and integrate education into their entertainment to enrich their world.
Disclaimer: This is a guest post.
One comment on “Should You Let Your Children Play with VR Technology?”
A great question! When should children be allowed to use VR? You’ve brought a really good question to us attention. Thanks for sharing Laura!