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What parents should know about the VR gear kids want

Are you interested in virtual reality but unsure of where to start? Whether you’re just looking to dip your toe in or fully immerse yourself in the VR experience, there are options available to suit your interests, needs, and budget. It’s important to note that virtual reality technology is continuously evolving, so it’s always a good idea to check the companies’ websites, read professional reviews, and consider user feedback before making a purchase.

Virtual reality viewers are handheld devices that provide a three-dimensional view and the sensation of being in a different environment. While they do not allow for interaction with the environment, they can be used with apps labeled “VR” on iOS and Android devices. Some popular options in this category include:

– Google Cardboard: Made of cardboard, this viewer is a fun and affordable way to experience VR. It is compatible with most smartphones and can be used with various VR apps.
– SmartTheater Virtual Reality Headset: This comfortable viewer comes with adjustable lenses and a head strap. It also includes a handheld motion-controller for enhanced gaming experiences.
– View-Master Virtual Reality: Geared towards educational content, the View-Master offers packages that allow you to explore different topics. It works with most smartphones and specially designed View-Master apps.

Moving up in price and features are VR headsets, which provide a more immersive experience. They can be used with the same VR apps as viewers but offer better comfort, fit, lenses, and often have built-in game controllers. Some options in this category include:

– Merge VR Goggles: This lightweight headset is made of flexible foam and has audio ports and dual input buttons for easy game control.
– Google Daydream View: Made of fabric, this plush headset is designed specifically for Google’s Daydream VR platform. It comes with a controller and offers a range of apps and games.
– Samsung Gear VR: Designed exclusively for Samsung phones, the Gear VR includes an input pad on the headset and works with bluetooth controllers. It offers a variety of games, including Minecraft Gear VR Edition.
– VR Kix Virtual Reality Headset: This headset has individually adjustable lenses and a customizable smartphone tray for a comfortable fit.

Sony’s PlayStation VR is currently the only VR gaming console available. It works with the PlayStation 4 and offers an immersive and interactive VR experience. Some key features of the PlayStation VR include:

– Expensive
– Limited to Sony PlayStation
– Games tend to be mature but plentiful, including titles like Batman Arkham VR and Resident Evil 7.
– Sony recommends a minimum age of 12 for using the PlayStation VR.

For those looking for the ultimate VR experience, there are the Oculus Rift and HTC Vive. These powerful headsets require high-end PCs and offer full interactivity with the environment. Some key features of these headsets include:

– Super expensive
– Require high-powered computers and compatible games
– Best for families with older teens, as Oculus Rift’s recommended age minimum is 13, and Valve states the Vive is “not for children.”

It’s important to consider your budget, interests, and the intended audience when choosing a virtual reality device. Remember to do thorough research, read reviews, and check the age requirements set by manufacturers before making a purchase.