Parents are being urged to familiarize themselves with the potential risks of virtual reality (VR), with the increasingly popular headset likely to be on plenty of Christmas wish lists.
although cost of living crisisThis Yuan Quest 2 is doing well for tech gifts this holiday after recent price drop black friday.
While VR headsets have become more mainstream gaming devices in recent years, these gadgets are also closely related to the so-called metaverse — a broader vision of shared online spaces.
in the metaverse race
This has raised concerns about young people’s unfettered access to environments such as 3D chat rooms, where people wearing headsets are represented by avatars.
Kate Edwards, acting deputy head of children’s online safety at the NSPCC, said: “Parents who may be considering buying a VR headset for their child this Christmas need to be aware of the risks young users currently face in gaining access and, in this arena, an unaffected A world of regulation.”
The NSPCC poll revealed that while one in five parents would buy a VR headset for their child if possible, more than two-thirds of the public lack confidence that child safety is a priority in the Metaverse.
A Child’s Call Reveals the Potential Dangers of the VR World
The charity said young people shared their experiences with virtual reality online through its Childline counseling service.
A middle school student said: “Recently I met a guy in a VR game and I was confused how I should feel about him.
“He was really bad, like he was always making sexual comments to me and asking me to ‘kiss’ him in the game.
“I know it sucks, but I love his voice and he makes me feel like I want to be.
“Nobody gives me that kind of affection in the real world. I think that’s why I use VR, so I can look like another person and it makes me feel good about myself.
“I feel like I like this guy, but I don’t know if he just likes my online persona.”
Tips for Keeping Kids Safe in VR
To help parents, the NSPCC has compiled a list of tips to help keep children safe while using VR:
• Make headphones a family activity and take turns playing together
• Take some time to explore the headset yourself before allowing your child to use it
• Familiarity with any security features such as parental and privacy controls
• Discuss with children how they use VR and make sure they know not to share personal information
• Set healthy boundaries around play time
Ms Edwards said: “But this responsibility should not fall solely on parents. Tech companies must do more to ensure children’s safety both on existing products and those that will be introduced in the future.”
“The government needs to provide a strong Online Safety Act This speaks to the advances in technology and ensures that new devices and platforms are created with child protection at the core. “
Long-delayed new legislation – aimed at protecting online users – proposed last monthbut there are concerns it has been watered down compared to previous government pledges.
Why the Online Safety Act is so controversial
Rowland Manthorpe on the impact of the Delayed Security Act
Remember good health and safety
It’s also important to understand the physical stress that VR can put on children.
Dr Romesh Angunawela, founding partner of OCL Vision, told Sky News it was especially important to consider the impact of prolonged gaming on their eyes.
“Get them to follow the 20:20:20 rule,” he advises.
“Every 20 minutes, they should take a breath with their eyes and either close their eyes for 20 seconds or focus on something at least 20 feet away.”
Given the nature of VR, parents should also be aware of the risk of motion sickness — and the simple danger of not being able to see your surroundings.