Virtual reality is a niche product that has become very popular among users. HTC, Oculus, and Sony are some of the companies dominating the virtual reality markets. However, all VR devices come with a safety warning that restricts children under the age of 12 from using them.
So, why is VR not suitable for children under the age of 12? It is because VR could have negative side effects on the children’s vision. Besides, manufacturers don’t want any future litigation from these effects. There are also other side effects of VR devices, including nausea, eye strain, and headache. These effects could be severe in children under the age of 12 because of their underdeveloped bodies.
While VR could be a captivating experience, you wouldn’t want to risk the health of your child. Most gamers enjoy the VR experience because it makes games more realistic. While these devices could be harmless for adults, they could cause significant damage to the health of children under 12 years. Knowing the reasons for that is vital for their well-being.
VR is not suitable for children under 12 because it could affect their vision. The chances of children developing eye conditions are high if they use VR regularly. Besides, VR could result in other effects like nausea, eye strain, and headache. These effects could cause significant damage to children under 12 years. There are several other reasons you shouldn’t expose your child to VR.
First, VR could result in physical and mental harm in children. Even though VR comes with a set of safety instructions that must be followed to keep users safe, children don’t follow them as adults do. They can entangle themselves with VR cables and try running while wearing VR headsets. This is dangerous because it can result in severe accidents, especially when playing in an enclosed environment.
Besides, some VR designs like PSVR completely block the user’s ability to see the environment, hindering them from detecting obstacles. You have likely seen an adult fall or get frightened by VR experience; you can imagine what a child could go through.
If not supervised correctly, children could understand traumatizing experiences when using VR. In fact, some VR experiences could cause permanent trauma in children, affecting their life completely.
Virtual reality sickness is another reason you shouldn’t let your child use VR. Studies show that a VR device is likely to result in various types of sickness. Some of them include dizziness, convulsion, seizures, eye strain, muscle cramps, loss of awareness, altered vision, headache, motion sickness, and nausea. All these conditions are referred to as VR-induced sickness.
While VR has different effects on adults, it can induce more headaches and eye strain in children, affecting their health significantly. While this is the case, some parents claim that their children can use VR without suffering visible side effects.
While that could be true, their health will still be affected somehow. Remember that the effects don’t have to be visible for you to know. Therefore, you should prevent exposing your child to VR, especially those under 12 years.
As mentioned earlier, eye strain is a common side effect of VR. If you use a smartphone daily, you have likely noticed that your eyes will hurt if you use it in the dark. The same applies to using VR devices for a short period — you will develop eye strains that make it difficult to see things clearly. While most adults develop eye problems after using VR, some could use it for a long time without developing any issues.
This doesn’t apply to children because their eyes are different. They have more sensitive eyes that could suffer when exposed to VR. Given that the VR display sits only two inches away from the eye, children can quickly develop eye strains.
They might not complain of the discomfort because the VR experience distracts them and keeps them captivated. However, repeated exposure to these devices may result in significant complications. Therefore, it is a good idea to keep your children safe.
Manufacturers also have a fear of litigation. To date, there is no extensive research done on the negative side effects of VR on children. Essentially, VR headset developers don’t know whether VR devices could affect a child’s vision or affect their mental development.
If any future study confirms that VR headsets can negatively affect a child’s vision, an action lawsuit against VR manufacturers won’t be surprising. For that reason, VR companies want to play it safe by warning about the possible side effects. The fact that legal action could be taken against them in the future is one of the reasons why you should heed the warning on VR headsets.
Some VR devices are simply not made for children. Both Oculus and Sony say children cannot use their VR devices. Remember that a child’s interpupillary distance (IPD) is not the same as an adult.
According to a study done by the University of Cambridge, the average IPD of an adult is 63mm, while the children’s average is 40mm. Poor designed, and unfocused VR headsets can cause significant eye strains both in adults and children.
A VR headset designed for an adult might not be effective on a child due to an IPD mismatch. As a result, children might develop nausea after using VR devices designed for adults. For that reason, you shouldn’t allow your underage (below 12 years) child to use VR devices.
Children over 13 years should only use VR under the supervision of an adult. This goes a long way in protecting their vision and ability to think properly. Although there are no long-term studies that confirm the effects of VR on children, ophthalmologists agree there is a reason to be concerned about VR headsets’ possible damage to a child’s function or health.
Researchers at Stanford University found that children tend to confuse VR experience with real-world experience. This means that parents should be concerned about the possible effects of VR on their children. It would help if you waited for them to hit the right age before exposing them to the VR experience.
Can a 13-Year-old Use Oculus Quest?
Oculus Quest is an exciting doorway to immersive experiences. This platform is a captivating way of exploring virtual reality while playing games. However, some people wonder whether a 13-year-old can use Oculus Quest.
A 13-year-old can use Oculus Quest when under supervision. An adult must be around to guide the child and ensure they are following all the safety measures. If left unsupervised, the child might cause damage by not following the instructions.
A 13-year-old can use Oculus Quest under supervision because they have developed the necessary physical features to use the device. For instance, they will have a better IPD that could sustain the impact of Oculus Quest headsets. However, using Oculus Quest is not possible for children under this age.
The main reason for that is that Oculus Quest doesn’t support children’s profiles or accounts. As a regular Oculus Quest user, you know that you have to sign in with your Facebook account in order to use the platform.
By doing so, you can have all your friends in the game and enjoy the social experience you have always wanted. Remember that you cannot have a Facebook account if you are under 13 years. Currently, the Facebook account age restriction is the main reason children under 13 years cannot use Oculus Quest.
However, there is a possibility that Meta will quit requiring a Facebook account to access Oculus Quest. Any Facebook account you choose to sign up with is assumed to belong to a person aged 13 years and older. Besides, Quest lacks any separate profiles or logins. This means that a child using Oculus Quest will end up being online under the Facebook account of a different person.
Safety is another crucial concern for underage children. Given that VR is a high-motion stimulation where games ask for lots of hang-swinging and movement, the risk of injury increases.
This is why you should set up a boundary for your VR play, known as the Guardian, when you turn on the headset. This boundary-setup process recognizes the presence of obstacles in the way and shows them in black and white using passthrough cameras.
However, you will not be sure of where the obstacles are located after that. This is because Oculus Quest doesn’t have object-avoidance awareness or collision detection, meaning you could accidentally hit someone in the room.
You could also trip over something, break a lamp, or even worse, punch into a hard wall. Therefore, you should carefully set up your play areas with plenty of extra room near the walls. It would help if you also stayed away from others to avoid accidents.
While an adult could adhere to these safety measures, a child won’t be that careful. In response to these safety threats, Oculus Quest is slowly adding more experimental features with the aim of enhancing safety.
One of the features is called Space Sense, which overlays real-world outlines of objects into VR as you play. It is good to keep the Guardian play space boundaries on when playing. While this helps prevent accidents, the overlays can get distractive during gaming. Meta hasn’t figured out the next-gen way to handle this problem yet.
Turning off chat or monitoring and filtering content is very difficult or impossible in some cases. Much of virtual reality is a solo experience but going online in social games and apps can throw you into an awkward mix of people.
Besides, the conversations from these people are not censored. With poker games, social platforms like Rec Room, AltspaceVR, and VRChat, and eSport channels like Echo VR, you can expect a wide range of people. If you want to keep your child safe, you should have a game console that controls the game under lockdown.
However, this might not fix the problem with Oculus Quest. This is because the content might not be appropriate for children. A good number of games on Oculus Quest are full of horror and gun violence and only meant for adults.
In addition, there is a full web browser that has no content filter settings. This can be quite risky for children. They give you access to anything, including VR and 360-degree video content that is not meant for children.
Another possible concern is skin reactions. Your child could develop skin irritations after constant exposure to VR. Meta discovered that a smaller number of people experienced signs of an allergic skin reaction after playing Oculus Quest.
These findings prompted the company to include silicone covers with VR headsets or offer free covers online. While not everybody can develop reactions or rashes, you are likely to get sweaty after playing VR games. Experts recommend that you keep a few clean spare foam faceplates and silicone covers for your better hygiene. This goes a long way in keeping you safe from potential effects.
Why Is Oculus 13+?
Oculus Quest is an exciting virtual reality gaming headset that gives you a thrilling experience. While this headset is ideal for adults, there have been restrictions on its use among children. For that reason, the age limit for Oculus Quest is 13.
Oculus Quest is 13+ because children under that age can suffer negative effects. For instance, they could experience eye problems due to their low IPD. The close location of VR to children’s eyes could affect their vision and cause nausea. In some cases, VR could also affect the child’s ability to think.
Physical issues are also a reason why children shouldn’t use VR. For instance, the head strap might fail to fit securely on a young person’s head. The distance between lenses is another common reason why parents should expose children to VR.
These effects make it extremely uncomfortable to use VR devices among children. Besides, they increase the chances of getting sick, with vision blurriness associated with lenses likely to increase the chances of headaches and eye strains. In addition, kids’ brains don’t fully understand the differences between VR and the real world — they are likely to walk straight into physical objects and sustain injuries.
Virtual reality has become very common among gamers. While this might be a captivating experience for adults, it is not suitable for children under 12 years because it can affect their vision. VR is also likely to increase the risk of nausea and headaches.
For that reason, you shouldn’t encourage your child to use VR. Children aged above 13 years can use VR under supervision. An adult should be around to supervise their activities because children tend to ignore safety measures. They could also run into a physical wall and sustain injuries.