Nintendo 3DS can damage a child's eyes

It seems that today everything is in 3D -- movies, television, console games, and now handheld games. Even though a decent percent of the population gets discomfort after viewing 3D content, technology and entertainment companies are pushing for this new technology to be in every device. Nintendo is no different, but now have actually issued a warning [Japanese] about the damage their new device, the 3DS, could cause.

The warning has been translated by Gizmodo to English, and while the exact translation is rough, the gist is very clear. Children under the age of six should not use the 3D mode on the 3DS as their vision is still developing. This is due to how stereoscopic 3D works, by showing each eye a different image, and actually "has a potential impact on the growth of children's eyes." 

Nintendo is not alone on this warning, as Sony also previously had a similar message added to their Terms of Service about their 3D gaming technology for children specifically under the age of six. Sony also warns that children's eyes are still developing and could be damaged by 3D content, including television, movies, and gaming. The company tells parents that if they wish to allow their children to use 3D content that the kids should be checked out by their eye doctor before any play.

Nintendo will have a way for parents to block the harmful 3D content from children by adding in a parental lock on 3D. When activated, the lock will keep all content in a 2D mode. With all of these warnings, and the noted issues that come along with simply viewing 3D content, it does cause one to wonder just how safe the technology is, and if perhaps 3D content should be delivered in a different way.

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Headlines on various tech sites...

Neowin: Nintendo 3DS can damage a child's eyes
Gizmodo: The Nintendo 3DS Will Destroy Children's Eyeballs (No, Really)
Ars Technica: Nintendo Japan says no 3DS for kids under six

See the difference?

I really wish Neowin would stop using trashy headlines just to generate ad revenue. This used to be my homepage for several years and my main source of tech news but it's things like this that put me off the site.

BAHAHAHAHAHAHA The entertainment industry is pushing for 3d everything and admits that its harmful to children and can cause discomfort?

Think about this...

3D fun to look at but harmful to users.
why don't they put giant metal spikes on 3d devices? it would do the same thing.

danoxx said,
BAHAHAHAHAHAHA The entertainment industry is pushing for 3d everything and admits that its harmful to children and can cause discomfort?

Think about this...

3D fun to look at but harmful to users.
why don't they put giant metal spikes on 3d devices? it would do the same thing.

Alcohol is fun but harmful to users. Lots of people still drink, their choice. If done in moderation with full awareness of the risks it's not necessarily such a bad thing. In this case the most harm is possible in very young children, so their parents are expected to deal with it - in the same way that good parents don't pour Gin down their children's throats these days.

Anyway, they are saying the 3D *could* be bad, not that it definately is bad, and I can't see that it's going to blind or stab anyone like metal spikes would

Vision development not only occurs in the eye. All the interpretation part is done in the brain and the harm could as well be done there. Neural connexions are built as development goes, based on the visual stimulations perceived by the eye. Hence, a "wrong way to see" could lead to improper development (adapted to that wrong way). Nobody can really say to which extent this can affect vision, and it probably would require a really heavy usage, but it's still something to consider. There's a well known experiment where some kittens were raised in an environment with only horizontal lines, once adults, they were unable to see vertical ones.

daniel_rh said,
Too much 3D is bad for everybody, if you want to play in 3D all day just play your life

That's right, live in "Real-D"

i wouldnt say that its old news cus i didnt know anything about this. Having it warned to ppl on a proactive scale means more ppl will become aware of it, and ppl who arent glued to tech sites everyday of the week like most of the average population ppl wont be aware of it.

Jack, umm maybe alot of ppl. Would you want your childs eye (if you have or will have one) knowingly damaged by 3d and then grow up with eye sight problems knowing that it could have been prevented? 3D to me is a joke but prolly a stepping stone towards holographic imaging which is the only true 3D.

Yeah, the 3DS's 3D system CAN harm a child's eyes and the 3D that everyone else knows and loves WILL give you a headache. Who cares?

The same is true for any 3d I've seen including movies. It is suggested that no one uber 8 view them due to the development of the human eye.

Seen this with 3d crayola products movies games books etc.

I really have no idea why this is making headlines in all of my feeds on my homepage right now when it came out months ago. Yes, 3D can harm the vision. And yes, this warning accompanies any 3D product.

It's a known health risk that isn't device specific yet you didn't see any of this for 3D TV, Movies, etc so why is it a big deal when Nintendo is making a health specification?

Tanshin said,
I really have no idea why this is making headlines in all of my feeds on my homepage right now when it came out months ago. Yes, 3D can harm the vision. And yes, this warning accompanies any 3D product.

It's a known health risk that isn't device specific yet you didn't see any of this for 3D TV, Movies, etc so why is it a big deal when Nintendo is making a health specification?

Slow news day...

Tanshin said,
I really have no idea why this is making headlines in all of my feeds on my homepage right now when it came out months ago. Yes, 3D can harm the vision. And yes, this warning accompanies any 3D product.

It's a known health risk that isn't device specific yet you didn't see any of this for 3D TV, Movies, etc so why is it a big deal when Nintendo is making a health specification?

Beat me to it. Yup as far as o can recall I've always seen this warning even with crayola products (meant for kids too)

What is the mechanism that actually effects the child's eyesight. Is it that the child's eyes try to change focus on the 3D image, but since it's just a projection (and thus has a fixed focus), they struggle constantly.

I think that's pretty much it. You're looking at a 2D surface with three dimensions being projected into your eyes. The lens is constantly trying to refocus.

bologna! i used to stair into a virtual boy for hours on end. usually 3 to 4 hours playing wario, red alarm and tennis trying to get the endings for these games. no damage... 3DS is in broad daylight. the thing that could hurt the eyes if if you stare at light while in a darkened room.

That's pretty much how vision works. The left eye sees one image and the right eye sees another hence 3D. By filming left and right and presenting that image to the relevant eye your just reproducing that effect.

Unplugged said,
That's pretty much how vision works. The left eye sees one image and the right eye sees another hence 3D. By filming left and right and presenting that image to the relevant eye your just reproducing that effect.

Different images to simulate 3D != depth perception observing actual 3D

cybertimber2008 said,

Different images to simulate 3D != depth perception observing actual 3D

Actually it's the same thing, each eye receives a different image and the brain computes the depths, the 3DS behaves the same way (it sends each eye an different image, and the brain correctly computes the depth)

or.... despite no information from health providers both Sony and Nintendo are warning about potential eye issues if < 6 years old looking at 3D rendered via Steroscopic 3D.

ahhell said,
COULD damage NOT CAN damage.

It's Nintendo covering their asses.


'Could' and 'can' mean the same thing. As long as it doesn't say 'will' it's fine.

ahhell said,

It's Nintendo covering their asses.

Exactly!

It's just the same as the epilepsy and RSI warnings all over everything.

SteelToast said,
+1 Dont do anyone who doesn't get an headache after watching 3D for extended periods of time( 1-2 hours +)

Avatar didn't give me a headache, so now you know one person who doesn't get headaches after 1-2+ hours of watching 3D.

TCLN Ryster said,

Avatar didn't give me a headache, so now you know one person who doesn't get headaches after 1-2+ hours of watching 3D.

+1, and I watched it twice. The old 3D technology with the red and blue glasses definitely gave me a headache... But the new 3D technology doesn't do that at all. It would be better if I didn't need glasses because wearing glasses over glasses isn't fun...

Electric Jolt said,

+1, and I watched it twice. The old 3D technology with the red and blue glasses definitely gave me a headache... But the new 3D technology doesn't do that at all. It would be better if I didn't need glasses because wearing glasses over glasses isn't fun...

The glasses are so uncomfortable on the face.

TCLN Ryster said,

Avatar didn't give me a headache, so now you know one person who doesn't get headaches after 1-2+ hours of watching 3D.

He said you shouldn't *DO* anyone who doesn't get an headache after watching 3D for extended periods of time. So, rest assured, he won't be having sex with you anytime soon.

Unplugged said,
so seeing things in 3D damages eye development makes sen..... oh wait
It's not seeing things in 3D, it's the way current 3D systems work, by showing each eye a different image. If you had something like a holographic 3D where you are looking at something in 3D space (as opposed to each eye seeing a different image) then it would probably have no effect on eye development.

xtruder said,
Yawnnn, old news, everything can damage a child one way or another...

Exactly, I'm sure Nintendo pointed this out around E3 anyway, it's old news >.<

~Johnny said,

Exactly, I'm sure Nintendo pointed this out around E3 anyway, it's old news >.<


Old news that not everyone has heard... I hadn't heard about it.

Callum said,

Old news that not everyone has heard... I hadn't heard about it.
+1
Wouldn't expect Nintendo to throw this around at E3 either... That'd just be horrible for sales...

SteelToast said,
Expected.
+1
The first thing I tought when I read about that technology, was that it "tricks" your brain, which (if you ask me) is never a good thing.

Eraknelo said,
+1
The first thing I tought when I read about that technology, was that it "tricks" your brain, which (if you ask me) is never a good thing.

A lot of the stuff we use tricks our brain/body, for example, pain relief. Try telling someone dying of cancer or in the middle of childbirth that it's a bad thing.