It’s not long until Nintendo releases its 3D gaming handheld, the 3DS, but is it safe for your kids? The potential health risks of 3D are currently unknown, but would you take a chance on your kid’s eyes?
In the words of Ricky Gervais at the Golden Globes (I’ll steer clear from his divisive jibes) it seems like everything this year is three-dimensional. He was talking about movies, but video games are getting in on the action just as much.
Sony’s bringing a raft of 3D games to the PlayStation 3, including Gran Turismo 5, Killzone 3, Uncharted 3 – and PC gamers have enjoyed 3D titles for quite some time.
But now handheld consoles are jumping on the bandwagon, with Nintendo imminently releasing its 3DS in the UK this March. Nintendo hopes that its handheld, which plays 3D games without the need for glasses, will capture the imaginations of children and adults alike – but there are questions as to whether there are health risks attached.
Nintendo’s 3DS health warnings
Although health warnings on gaming products aren’t new, Nintendo issued a statement recommending that children aged six and under shouldn’t play 3D games on the 3DS.
So does this mean that there are actually risks for kids viewing 3D content? Generally, it’s bad for your health to do too much of anything, especially watching TV or playing video games. But health issues surrounding 3D are still a grey area.
Potentially, watching 3D content could harm the development of a child’s eyesight, so there are questions over whether they should be exposed to 3D at all. Richard Pakey, a British eye expert at The Eyewear Centre, mulls over the potential dangers of Nintendo’s 3DS:
‘One possible explanation for the safety advice issued by Nintendo could be something to do with children’s ‘critical eyesight period,’ Pakey told Techradar.
‘This is arguably between the ages of two to six and at this stage children are very much in the developmental process visually, and any persuasions optically could indeed have a negative impact permanently.’
So would you let your child play the Nintendo 3DS when it’s released? The health risks of 3D are still an unknown quantity, so it’s clear that manufacturers are playing it safe with these health warnings, but is it worth risking damage to your kids’ eyes?
Thankfully they’ll be able to play games in 2D on the 3DS, but personally, I don’t think kids under six should be playing handhelds at all. Why not sit with them in the living room and play Mario Kart on the Wii, or LittleBigPlanet on the PS3 – social gaming is a much better lesson for kids.
Nintendo will unveil its plans for the 3DS’s UK launch at a press event in Amsterdam tomorrow.