3D gaming is a health risk for kids

June 29, 2010

Watching a 3D movie once a month is fine, but bringing a 3D TV into the house and using it for watching television and playing games on is, it appears, not a great idea.

This feels a little like scaremongering but there is scientific evidence to back up the claims that 3D video and 3D games can seriously harm the eyesight, particularly in children under seven.

None of us are immune to the threat, but young kids are particularly so as they are still developing the nerves and muscles behind the eyes which they’ll need to see the world through for the rest of their lives.

This is according to a report on Audioholics, which details a condition called strabismus (commonly known as lazy-eye). This is when stereopsis, a human’s ability to see in 3D, doesn’t develop properly. And the increasing use of 3D in our homes is likely to put young kids in more danger of developing the condition.

This is rather worrying, particularly as Sony is pushing the use of 3D in a big way. If 3D is found to be harming people’s eyesight then I foresee lawsuits aplenty in the company’s future.

48 Responses to “3D gaming is a health risk for kids”

  1. ncaissie:

    Did hh send you this info? Lmfao.

  2. stopstopp:

    3D is bad for your health, that is true. People who were watching Avatar were reporting headaches and such, but with it all the time, it could potentially do damage with your eyes, and I’m wearing glasses, oh no D:

  3. CarlB:

    Excellent find Dave… I also wondered why Sega and VR had dropped off well before Sega was done for. Haven’t VR glasses been around for computers awhile though? It would be nice to see a comparison of specs between the VR headsets of the past (the ones the original studies were done on), then regular 3D glasses (the kind you get at the movie theater), then active shutter glass technology, and if there is any differences risk wise between the three. Perhaps there are further advances that could make a difference as far as making this safer.

    Until then, it seems Nintendo and especially Sony are too far into promoting the tech to pull out now, so I would expect time limit warnings for game play similar to what we have now. Though instead of “take a break every hour for at least fifteen minutes” it could be “no more than 45 minutes of 3D gameplay per day, and no more than 15~30 minutes if under the age of 7″.

    Even so, if this is as serious as they say it is, I doubt Nintendo would release it as their prime market is small children. Millions of children with “lazy eye” would not be a pretty picture for their bottom line.

    Perhaps this is the real reason why Nintendo is waiting until next year to release 3DS?

  4. Roca.:

    in other news…PSN update 3.40 is now live (downloading)

    ========================================

    now you can even compare trophies through facebook
    http://farm5.static.flickr.com/4117/4743055243_87d4498976.jpg

    also the new update brings some great new features to ensure the PS3 is ahead of the competition as the best multimedia console or home entertainment system. the new features include:

    *Photo Gallery:
    A new network based photo sharing feature is now available on the Photo Gallery. The enhancement allows you to upload, browse and comment on photos on Facebook and Picasa Web Album. You can also opt to share your photos between your PlayStation Network friends as well as print photos from Photo Gallery.

    *Video Editor & Uploader:
    Video Editor and Uploader is a new function found on the XrossMediaBar (XMB), which enables you to edit, save and upload video files stored on the PS3 system to sites such as Facebook or YouTube.

    *Facebook:
    Enhancements to the connection between your PlayStation Network and Facebook accounts where you can compare trophies, send PSN messages and see if your friends are on.

    The great thing about all this is there is no hidden fees, or service to subscribe, it’s all free for all PSN accounts. as you know PSN is and will remain a free service.

  5. CarlB:

    “Nintendo Won’t Confirm 3DS Date
    Company not commenting on Reggie’s statement.”

    http://ds.ign.com/articles/110/1102474p1.html

    That’s not good.

  6. harry sachz:

    Excellent copy and paste job Roca :)

    Back on topic, I think there needs to be a lot of research done on this, if it’s not too late. I think i’ll stick to the normal 2D for a while.

  7. ToshithegreaT:

    “Excellent copy and paste job Roca”

    @Harry

    well, he gets paid for it anyway

  8. Barnabe Jones:

    Actually, Nintendo did already release a statement about this a few days ago.

    It’s kind of ironic. They’ve done so well with the younger market, but now their advising that kids under 7 shouldn’t play it.

    It’s sounds like the Virtual Boy all over again. Free Ocular Cancer with the purchase of the 3DS. Supplies are limited. Act now!

    http://kotaku.com/5566671/nintendo-testing-healthiness-of-3ds-advising-young-children-to-avoid-3d

  9. gunstar:

    @ Roca
    Well laid out, man.
    Thanks for the detailed info my friend.
    You are always my PS3 informer since day one.
    You should write a book or blog site called “PS3 for Dummies” like yours trully :)

  10. gunstar:

    Does Nintendo have a curse? Before it was the epilepsy incident, and now its strabismus?

    We just got a $1,200 46″ Samsung 120Hz 1080p LCD CCFL HDTV LN46C10 (LN46C30 in the US) instead of a $2,000 46″ 3D LCD HDTV. Sony TVs are rediculously $300 way too expensive than Samsung HDTVs even if they are made in the same manufacturing plants in South Korea. :(
    The $800 will cover the rent.

    Samsung UltraSlim LED is still so costly & has uneven backlighting compared to this new CCFL technology which I think Samsung has mastered. And it was time to strike the bargain.

    As a cheap-ass gamer I have never been an early adopter. I always wait for the second wave of a new tech to hit the stores. The only reasonably priced Sony product I bought is the PS3. Never buy too cheap tech though, because you get what you pay for.

    When I finally get a 3D TV it might come as an AMOLED tech HDTV which Samsung will introduce next year and the second wave hopefully in 2012.

    So I am all set for GT5 and LBP2 this year.

  11. CarlB:

    “Does Nintendo have a curse?”

    If it does, it’s a second to Sony’s right now, as Mr. Tretton only said “3D” like 50 times in the Sony press conference referencing Sony’s future.

  12. phranctoast:

    That will hurt the 3DS. Especially considering the Nintendo demographic is mostly under 7 ;)

  13. CarlB:

    If only it were limited to just that demographic, apparently according to Kotaku and others, adults are affected as well. That’s sad, especially after Sony has invested so much into 3D and so many here were excited to no end about it ;)

  14. phranctoast:

    Adults with lazy eye. Something that affects less people than color blindness, and look, color tv’s still exist. ;)

  15. ncaissie:

    I don’t think this is going to stop anything.
    I’ll buy one and let you know if I get lazy eye.

  16. Roca.:

    hey, the computer screen eats your eye vision and that hasnt stopped anybody from not spending all day long on their PC.

  17. ncaissie:

    “hey, the computer screen eats your eye vision and that hasnt stopped anybody from not spending all day long on their PC.”
    Yeah I remember all that BS. And cell phones give you brain cancer. And smoking weed kills brain cells.
    Wait, I guess HH is proof of that last one.

  18. phranctoast:

    change weed with cock and you might be onto something….
    ;)

  19. Kushy:

    ^
    BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!

  20. ncaissie:

    LMFAO!

  21. Rimmer:

    I still think that stereoscopic 3d is an expensive gimick that requires too much hardware and excludes people with certain health conditions. Head tracking 3d is so much more useful for games and can be run on existing equipment. I hope GT5 stills retains this feature, although I can see Sony making a point of keeping it on the low low to try and sell us more 3d tvs instead.

  22. phranctoast:

    I think the use of it will be limited enough where this issue wont be a concern.

    The 3DS on the other hand………

  23. Liquid:

    carlB

    r u getting PS+?

  24. Roca.:

    @Phranc

    check this out:
    “Ben Michaels was on the verge of losing sight in his right eye. The solution? Two hours of Mario Kart DS a day — using only his bad eye — until the condition improved. And improve it did”

    http://www.engadget.com/2010/06/28/amblyopic-six-year-old-uses-nintendo-ds-to-regain-normal-eyesigh/

  25. Barnabe Jones:

    “Sony has invested so much into 3D”

    Yeah but it’s an optional feature for the PS3. The 3DS is built entirely around it.

  26. phranctoast:

    thats true BJ. Even though it can be turned off on the 3DS, it is the main selling point for the handheld.

  27. CarlB:

    “r u getting PS+?”

    I was planning on it… but apparently PSN doesn’t recognize Armed Forces addresses like XBL does, so I’ll have to wait for a PSN card to come.

  28. CarlB:

    “Even though it can be turned off on the 3DS, it is the main selling point for the handheld.”

    What is the main selling point of 3DTV’s again?

  29. phranctoast:

    What do you think will sell to more 7 year olds carlb?

    3d hdtv’s or the 3ds?

  30. Liquid:

    carlB

    strange that it doesnt recognise your address. .are you planning on getting the 1year subscription or the 3month one? i think its pretty good. .new content every week is good.

  31. oldschool1987:

    More bad gaming press …shock

  32. oldschool1987:

    Next they’ll say games turn people into killers, oh wait, they already did

  33. CarlB:

    “What do you think will sell to more 7 year olds carlb?”

    Not sure many parents would buy it for their child if there is truth to this claim and the neighbors kid comes over for a visit with bug eyes after the first week of release.

    Beyond that, wouldn’t 3DTV’s sell more as they appeal to a broader market, and wouldn’t those still be families that have children 7 or under? “Sorry Timmy, but you can’t watch this movie with the rest of the family because you are not of age yet” used to apply to PG and R rated movies… now it’s possibly going to apply to 3D movies? And what were the majority of Sony’s first 3D blu-rays? Coraline, Monsters vs. Aliens, Polar Express, etc.

    So why didn’t we hear about this last year when millions of kids finished these movies with lazy eyes? Let alone theaters releases earlier than that? Is it that 3D gaming is somehow different than watching movies? The exposure wasn’t long enough? Scale? Non-isolated viewing? I don’t know.

    For what it’s worth, I doubt Nintendo or Sony would be irresponsible enough to put these products on the market (or leave them on) if there was a significant portion of the population being affected adversely. No doubt they already know about the potential hazard and are still doing extensive studies to ensure their customer’s safety.

    Liquid,

    I called Sony earlier this morning and the rep said the FPO AP address was “too long for PSN to handle” (it is no “longer” than the average stateside address). When I stated XBL could handle it fine as well as other online retailers, he went on to say (after he checked with his supervisor) there was nothing else to be done and advised me to get a PSN card, which they don’t sell here.

    I did my part and emailed Sony explaining the situation, offered a solution (putting “Armed Forces Pacific” and others as an option in the “state/province” drop down menu). Still awaiting a response.

  34. Liquid:

    carlB

    awh shit one . .well hopefully you get it sorted man :)

  35. phranctoast:

    Well, Isuppli seems to believe that by 2015 there will be about 78M 3D TV’s on the market.

    http://www.isuppli.com/News/Pages/Global-3-D-TV-Shipments-Set-to-Soar-to-78-Million-Units-in-2015.aspx

    Impressive, but compared to the 129M DS’s sold since 2004? If that in any way predicts the sales of the 3DS you can see the issue.

    Movies are also only about 2 hours a pop. Watching a 3D movie will probably be less eye straining than the way kids play these games.

    “For what it’s worth, I doubt Nintendo or Sony would be irresponsible enough to put these products on the market (or leave them on) if there was a significant portion of the population being affected adversely. No doubt they already know about the potential hazard and are still doing extensive studies to ensure their customer’s safety. ”

    You are right though. Warnings will be in place to let parents know. The 3DS does have the ability to turn on and off the effect so that’s a plus.

  36. ncaissie:

    “Impressive, but compared to the 129M DS’s sold since 2004? If that in any way predicts the sales of the 3DS you can see the issue.”

    One problem. The DS has 4 versions and I don’t think everyone will upgrade to the 3DS. I skipped the DSi and XL but got the DSi for my 3 kids. Now they have a DS lite and DSi. I know the 3DS is a “next Gen” for Nintendo but most parents will see it as another update.

  37. ncaissie:

    I think Nintendo messed up calling it a DS.

  38. phranctoast:

    I figured it was fair enough considering there’s going to be more than one company and versions of 3D HDTV’s available to the masses.

    The buzz I seem to gather from the 3DS is it’s generating interest from people that usually wouldn’t even look twice at a normal DS. It stands to be even bigger than those.

  39. ncaissie:

    “I figured it was fair enough considering there’s going to be more than one company and versions of 3D HDTV’s available to the masses.”

    True.

  40. CarlB:

    “Movies are also only about 2 hours a pop”

    Sure, but young children tend to like watching the same movies over and over again also.

    If there is an issue with the tech, it will likely be as detrimental to both companies future bottom line as far as 3D goes.

  41. Happyhockum:

    “Sony’s active-shutter 3D glasses are now shipping for $149……For the HX800/909, you’d also need the 3D sync transmitter (which costs $48).”
    http://www.3d-display-info.com/sonys-active-shutter-3d-glasses-are-now-shipping-149

    I doubt many people have much to worry about with prices like those (in addition to the 52% premium they expect for the HD TV.

    …..and no they are not including specs or the emitter with any of their 3D HD TVs except the most expensive LX900 ($4000 – $5000).

  42. phranctoast:

    Mine will be $399 for my TV.

    http://www.amazon.com/dp/B003KTN0B4?tag=i4ufututechne-20&camp=213381&creative=390973&linkCode=as4&creativeASIN=B003KTN0B4&adid=110RKDDT5PTPMJZJF5Q8&

    I’ll wait on a deal.

    Have you played any 3D games yet Happy?

  43. Happyhockum:

    Mighty pricey for 2 pairs of specs.
    I thought you had a family?

    No, no 3D games yet.
    My 28″ 1080p monitor feels immersive enough for now and as you know I’m not really convinced by the hype around 3D.

    I have no doubt ‘the effect’ can be better on an up-close PC monitor but once you get past that I really don’t get the idea that it’s compelling.

    As I said with Avatar, which unlike many (most?) I took the trouble to also view in 2D so I’d have a proper idea as to how this worked on the big screen, it was impressive and certainly the best 3D stereoscopic stuff I’ve seen but essential to the cinematic experience?
    I don’t think so.

    I can see how a game like Wipe-out would work well with it but that’s my problem with it, it’s just another effect more suited in a few applications and at great expense.

    Until I see it in the home for films I’m not bothering.

    TBH when offered the choice of dropping, say, $2000 on my next HD TV I’d far rather put the cash into a better larger 2D screen than buy a smaller 3D set.
    ….and that is where 3D is going to fail in the mass-market, I believe.
    Until the refresh spec is so universal and you get it without necessarily choosing to buy it.

  44. phranctoast:

    “Until the refresh spec is so universal and you get it without necessarily choosing to buy it.”

    I suspect that will be what will happen for most people.

    I’ve seen Super Stardust HD in 3D and it looked crazy. (Best Buy demo just the other day) The game is crazy anyway but the 3D jumped out at you rather than a depth of field effect that Avatar appeared to have.

    I agree. I having difficulty swallowing $400 let alone 2-3K+ for the TV….

    The great thing about CE products is, they drop in price fairly drastically.

  45. CarlB:

    I agree, the spec will be eventually be a standard option (barring us all getting severe lazy eye)… but that will probably take at least another 5 years.

  46. CarlB:

    “Survey Shows Low Japanese Interest in 3D TVs
    Sony’s push for 3D gaming may meet a disturbingly quiet response in Japan… A big part of Sony’s message at E3 was their push for 3D gaming on the PlayStation 3, but there may be a major problem for the company’s plans in its home country of Japan: One survey shows nearly 70 percent of Japanese consumers have no interest in purchasing a 3D television… Of the majority that said they had no interest in 3D TVs, the biggest turn-off (nearly 70 percent) was the hassle of having to wear 3D glasses, with 57 percent also citing the high prices for brand new 3D TVs, and nearly 40 percent saying there wasn’t enough 3D content available.”

    http://www.1up.com/do/newsStory?cId=3180223

  47. Happyhockum:

    Interesting.

    If the Japanese aren’t interested (removing the usual healthy ‘floor’ to the CE corps sales levels) what chance the rest of us?

    I can see this fading away badly to simply be a part of your HD TV’s spec in 3 – 5yrs time – although whether anyone botheres to buy and/or keep the necessary specs to use it is debateable.

    Gaming is pointed out in that article but alone I doubt it’s enough.

  48. Happyhockum:

    (and if it does screw up eyes then it’ll disappear so fast)

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