March 16, 2016
Virtual Reality and Children: What Parents Need to Know
On March 15th, Sony announced the projected release of PlayStation VR for October 2016. Priced at $399 and compatible with PS4, this is expected to be the most reasonably priced Virtual Reality experience compared with HTC’s Vive and Facebook’s Oculus Rift. Parents will start seeing these added gaming features in homes across America in the near future, especially with newly announced release of ‘Star Wars: Battlefront VR Experience”. However, with the age restriction of 12+, many children will have to wait until they hit the teen years to experience this new realm of gaming. Parents need to know that Virtual Reality is a mental immersion in an artificial world through computer technology. The encounter is described as ‘living the game, not just playing it’. Regardless of how exciting this shiny new toy sounds to gamers, the current age restriction is rated to protect kids as they may not be physically or emotionally ready to experience Virtual Reality. There are other platforms of Virtual Reality being marketed to younger children and Parents should be on watch for more to come such as McDonald’s VR goggles, “Happy Goggles”, being distributed into Happy Meals in Sweden. Virtual Reality will soon be part of everyday language, not just used by gaming and tech enthusiasts, as technology advances and it is introduced into the mass market.
It is important to note that it is not yet known the physiological effects of Virtual Reality on the developing child. Society is still working to protect children online, so parents need to be informed and aware before allowing young gamers(ages 13+) to immerse themselves into a fantasy world where reality takes on a different view, understanding and experience.
Virtual Reality is taking the Parenting Generation into a realm with added responsibility to stay educated on what today’s children are being introduced to and to be diligent in awareness for the future generation.
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