Negative Effects of Virtual Reality

Zhiming Fan Oct 14th 2017

In recent years, Virtual Reality has became a popular device for many game players, and it also provides an unprecedented way to change human's life. However, some people criticize this new technology due to potentil harmful effects. Such as eyestrain, Nausea, reality sickness and addictions. They also point out virtual reality devices will permanently hurt their living habit, and people who often stay in a total virtual world might be hard for them to adapt their life in real society.


Firstly, the most important problem caused by virtual reality is eyestrain. As we know, many people like to call this phenomena as short-term effects. But many researchers think it would be unwise for people to say there is no problem.

This picture shows the basic mechanics of virtual reality. VR device makes the real focus distance shorter and the images more clear than actual world. As researchers suggest, "Strap on an Oculus Rift or Samsung Gear VR, though, and all bets are off. These stereoscopic headsets create 3D images by showing the left and right eye images that are slightly offset—the more offset, the closer an object appears. That means your eyes are always accommodating to the screen strapped on your face, but they’re converging to a distance further off. Your eyes aren’t dumb; it’s totally possible to uncouple accommodation and convergence, but they won’t be happy about it. And they’ll be downright rebelling after a few hours". By their discussion, we can understand the reason of fatigue and uncomfortable feelings. So VR is a risky device for those people having normal vision, because it exactly has potential damage to their focal distance. But some researchers think this negative side effects can also be a helpful way to cure people those who have vision focusing problem.


Secondly, virtual reality addiction is very dangerous for young people. Virtual reality often stimulate our brain to release more hormone to make them feel more interesting in the virtual world. "Psychiatrist Keith Ablow is likely bracing himself for an onslaught of problems associated with the use of virtual reality (VR) devices as they roll into American homes like never before in 2016. In May 2014, Ablow sounded the alarm regarding VR's addictive potentiality. In an article published in BBC news, Ablow states that like most drugs, technological drugs like facebook and VR increase the pleasure centers of the brain, which in some cases "causes people to become psychiatrically ill." He goes on to theorize that Oculus virtual reality "will make matters worse.""So we can conclude that the virtual reality sometime make people spend too much time on it so our normal life might be negatively affected. If people always stay in a virtually constructed world, they will be very sensitive to the real world. Then their working skills or ability will be degraded as time goes by. This outcome is a disaster for those people who don't have a good self-controll.


Finally, some people also proposed doctor can use VR to train their patients or some dangerous job can be trained by this techonology. We still need to more experiment and practice to examine its effectiveness. Otherwise, it is a problematic to use VR in the real world. So in life, we should pay attention to the disadvantages of VR, we can not blindly accept the new technology, but ignore its influence on eyesight and psychology, and there must be pros and cons.

Possible symptom
Eyestrain Nausea or virtual reality sickness
Real-world injuries Psychological consequences
Game Transfer Phenomena Virtual reality addiction
Unknown effects of long-term use
Pros Cons
- VR redifines the idea of communication, expanding it from people you know in real life to anyone connected to the internet. People can make more friend by virtual reality. - Those who do not have access or cannot afford this technology will be left out.
- Many dangerous fields can use VR to train workers, such as fire keepers, polices. - Communication using this technology would be susceptible to deception.
- disabled people are not able to fully experience reality, they could explore the Virtual World. - Users can say and do things in these worlds that is illegal in reality. Also, users may be less inhibited than in real life due to a sense of anonymity, and may act in a way that is socially unacceptable
- VR makes tourism and visiting sites more easy by giving a detailed view of the original place, e.g. Virtual tour - Many people may become addicted to living in these virtual worlds, and as a result forget or neglect their responsibilities in real life.
- VR provides a chance to experience things that are impossible in real life as if you were actually there e.g. fighting zombies in a game - Technology is still developing and there are still many flaws to be worked to
- Some people have been known to have motion sickness due to using the VR headset.

Work Cited

Chris Reed. 6 Potential Dangers of Virtual Reality.June 30, 2016.http://www.rmmagazine.com/2014/10/01/the-real-risks-of-virtual-reality/

Jess Bolluyt. 7 Surprising Side Effects of Virtual Reality. January 25, 2017. https://www.cheatsheet.com/gear-style/surprising-side-effects-of-virtual-reality.html/?a=viewall

Nicola Davis. Long-term effects of virtual reality use need more research.March 19, 2016. https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2016/mar/19/long-term-effects-of-virtual-reality-use-need-more-research-say-scientists