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Virtual Reality and Humanity

Now that virtual reality is becoming more acceptable and cheaper to the public, more people are able to own their own headsets for gaming and entertainment purposes. Now that more private users are joining the world of VR, people are starting to question the positive and negative effect technology will have on peoples’ lives. Like any new form of media, people have mixed feelings about it and want to learn more before investing in a headset of their own.

vr pros and cons

Con of VR: Gaming Addictions

The immersive nature of virtual reality can be addictive, especially for those who spend large amounts of time gaming. After taking the headset off, gaming addicts may be left with intense feelings of anxiety and tension because they feel as though the virtual world is more realistic than the real world.

  • Video Game Addiction Statistics: Video game addiction is a rapidly growing problem that experts are still learning about. This page breaks down the statistics of video game addicts.

Pro of VR: Improving Empathy

Researchers have learned that using VR is a great way to teach empathy and compassion towards people. There are apps available on a variety of headsets where people can put themselves in the shoes of somebody else and understand their experiences. Researchers and organizations have created entertainment options where players are put in the heads of animals about to go off to the slaughterhouse, people struggling to make rent, and even coral reefs about to be destroyed. Research has shown that people tended to be more empathetic to other experiences after seeing what it was like firsthand.

Con of VR: Increased Anxiety, Detachment, and Sadness

Your brain starts to panic after taking the headset off because your eyes are trained to expect a scene to move when it’s not actually moving at all. Users often comment that after playing on their headset, they experienced brain/hand dissociation, especially among new users. After spending so much time escaping into a virtual world, users sometimes struggle with what to do with themselves after they take the headset off.

Pro of VR: Treating Mental Health

Mental health professionals have long since understood the benefits virtual reality can have on patients. Using exposure-based therapy, people struggling with anxiety, depression, and PTSD can don a headset and find themselves in a virtual world. In this world, they can test their limits and get exposed to potential triggers in a healthy way while a professional is on standby to help them work through their thoughts. It can also be used to test out new therapy techniques in a safe environment.

  • How Virtual Reality Can Save Your Mental Health: 1 in 4 people develop a mental health problem in their lifetime and therapists are beginning to use VR to help treat patients and help those who aren’t able to go to therapy in person.

Con of VR: Eye Strain

The longer you stare at a TV or computer screen, the more strained your eye muscles can get, even after only a short time. This is especially clear with VR headsets, where the screen is practically right in front of your eyes which can cause intense amounts of strain. Designers have yet to come up with a way to mimic the wide-angle view of vision, so eye soreness is common.

  • VR Headsets Can Lead to Damaged Eyesight: A software developer has claimed that constantly wearing a VR headset can damage vision. The Association of Optometrists says that glasses should fix the issues as it shouldn’t be permanent eye damage
  • Is VR Bad for Your Eyes?: VR is a relatively new, but increasingly popular form of entertainment and little is known about its effects on eyes and eyesight.

Pro of VR: Brain and Skill Improvement

Virtual reality has been used by businesses and organizations for years to train employees to be more productive. It’s a great way to put people in immersive environments that feel real and allow them to make mistakes in a way that won’t hurt or affect people. Now that it’s becoming a part of many households, there have been plenty of games and applications designed to improve memory and learning.

  • VR Improves Mental Health and Brain Fitness: VR stereotypes are that it’s a waste of time, makes you lazy, and rots your brain, but there are plenty of games and applications designed to enhance mental and physical fitness.
  • This is Your Brain on VR: As VR becomes a bigger part of the market, neuroscientists are working on learning about how the new technology could affect the brain.

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