As virtual reality headsets have become more accessible and more affordable, the use of these devices has been growing, and this has not gone unnoticed by the youngest entertainment consumers: children. At one point, VR headsets were far too expensive to consider putting in the hands of children, but now, many parents are giving the idea of letting their kids explore VR a second look. Meanwhile, app developers have made quite a few VR games that are suitable for younger audiences. Like with any other form of entertainment or technology, it’s important to read up on how to safely use virtual reality for kids, but it is possible for children to enjoy VR just like adults do.
Like many other things, VR is safe for some kids, but it’s important to consider the maturity level of the child and ensure that VR is used only in moderation. VR headset manufacturers include safety guidelines in their packaging that address the use of these products by children:
These warnings are in place partially because the headsets aren’t designed for smaller heads, and there’s also still a fear that VR may impair eye development in young children. Since VR is still a relatively new technology, the American Academy of Ophthalmology has not concluded any long-term studies on the subject; as of now, the AAO states that using VR headsets should not hurt children’s eyes as long as VR is only used in small increments of time.
If you’re considering purchasing a VR headset, it could be a good idea to start by looking at headsets that are compatible with an iPhone or Android phone or a Nintendo VR headset. These devices are usually designed for smaller heads and allow you to access some of the same games you can get on more powerful and popular headsets at a lower price point.
When you’re purchasing games in VR for kids, it’s important to take the same precautions that you would with regular video games, meaning that you should consider the subject matter of a game and look at its rating before deciding if it’s a good fit for your child. That said, you’ll find that there are quite a few fun games in VR that are suitable for kids and adults alike.