News Article

Nintendo Issues Warning on 3D Image Safety for Kids

Posted by James Newton

Kids under 6, stick to 2D

We've heard plenty of times over recent months that 3DS could cause eye problems in later life, and now Nintendo is taking no chances by issuing a formal statement aimed at parents of young children, advising them to play with the 3D effect turned off.

Nintendo quotes vision researchers who claim:

There is a possibility that 3D images which send different images to the left and right eye could affect the development of vision in small children.

The advice is aimed at protecting children aged 6 and under, with whom the previous DS machines have been popular. A slider on the right-hand side of the 3DS's top screen is used to alter the depth of the 3D, but Nintendo is set to include a built-in parental lock to prevent youngsters activating the 3D effect, according to some reports.

[via bbc.co.uk]

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User Comments (47)

James

#3

James said:

Yep, but does it turn the 3D effect off? I've not seen that confirmed anywhere.

WaveWarlock

#4

WaveWarlock said:

IGN's Article also mentioned...

"The gaming giant also stressed that adults shouldn't play in 3D mode for more than 30 minutes at a stretch. The warnings are not blanket reasons to avoid the 3DS altogether, but these are aggressive statements against what's supposed to be the central feature of the 3DS."

Personally I like to play 2 hours straight without any breaks whatsoever, and that's that. So this news to me seems a tad dissapointing.

Link79

#7

Link79 said:

Anyone who would buy a 3DS for a 6 yr old is just asking for trouble anyway. Never give a kid that young anything expensive. Wait until they are old enough to learn responsibility.

bboy2970

#8

bboy2970 said:

@James: I do believe I read somewhere (don't remember where) that the parental controls do include control of the 3D slider. Its possible I was mis-informed but I'm quite sure of this info. It would be quite smart of Nintendo to include it.

TheMasterSword

#10

TheMasterSword said:

Perhaps one of the parental controls may just turn off the 3D slider functionality for good? So even if it is all the way up, it's still 2D. Of course, later in the years, the slider could be turned on again, making the 3D come back. :D

Cipher

#11

Cipher said:

@WaveBoy Yeah, well, you're not supposed to play Wii or DS (or any videogames) for more than an hour at a time without a 10- or 15-minute break, so I don't think this changes things. :P If you can play them for a couple of hours at a time, you can play 3DS for about the same, I reckon.

James

#14

James said:

@skywake We're catching up on news that some people may have missed while they were enjoying time with their families and friends over Christmas and New Year :)

GamesX99

#15

GamesX99 said:

Wow, what parent would give a 6 year old a 3DS or a DS for that matter thats what a Game boy is for!

cammy

#16

cammy said:

I would or more exactly, I did.

I wouldn't buy a new 3DS for a 6yo but I did buy a 2nd hand pink DS for my daughter's 6yo birthday.

I have a DSi myself and many of the features (the recorder, the camera, some of the DSiWare apps) are exactly the kind of thing a 6yo would love. My daughter's been eyeing my DSi since I made some mention of getting a 3DS when it comes out.

But yes, I wouldn't buy a 300 euro gaming device for a 6yo.

Xkhaoz

#18

Xkhaoz said:

I'll see as much 3D as I want to, like the times I didn't take a break. But still, I know when to stop watching 3D.

Chris720

#19

Chris720 said:

Does this 30 minute also include going to the cinema and watching a 3D movie? 'Cos I've never seen the movie stop 30 minutes in so everyone can rest their eyes. :P Unless the 3D glasses block that kind of damage?

Anyways, why would you let a 6 year old play with something THAT expensive in the first place?

And also, I've played Wii games for 5-6 hours straight and nothing's happened to my eyes yet lol. So this "take a break every 30 minutes" is probably more Health and Saftey bull.

warioswoods

#20

warioswoods said:

I collected stereographs (Magic Eye, etc) as a young kid -- which are like the effect on the 3DS but perhaps worse due to needing to actively unfocus your eyes -- and it didn't do any damage, so of course it's just a precaution. I also remember plenty of youngsters playing with Viewmaster 3D.

WaveWarlock

#23

WaveWarlock said:

Kids 6 and under are better off with a Sega Nomad.

And Cypher does that also apply to movies as well? After all it's all the same thing, you're staring a screen.

Arkaein

#24

Arkaein said:

I have a hard time believing this is anything other than a purely CYA move by Nintendo.

The 3DS achieves its effect by sending different images to each eye. Of course, this is how real 3D objects in the real world look 3D as well!

The only thing that is different and which may be worrying Nintendo is that on a 3DS the eye may be focusing at a depth that is different than the perceived depth (the difference between the actual depth of the screen and the perceived depth of the objects in the scene). Maybe there is a potential problem because of that, but even so it doesn't sound like anyone has produced an actual study demonstrating a problem.

RyuZebian

#26

RyuZebian said:

Oh please. Nintendo is the only gaming company that persists to show Health care warnings every time you start up their consoles. It's wise to take their advices with a pinch of salt, or maybe a truck load. I'm hoping for a warning screen that says "Warning, 3D!" in 3D though! :D
How ironic when the person who was eye damaged by the device and attempt to sue Nintendo is asked the question "Did you read the Health and Safety screen???" Either way it can be held against him! xD

Token_Girl

#27

Token_Girl said:

The tech for 3D used today hasn't been in common use very long in movies. It will be a while before there are any decent studies. It's unethical to sit kids down in front of a 3D screen for hours every day to see if it hurts their eyes, so you have to wait until kids grow up and compare how much time they spent viewing 3D movies/games and their eyesight to get an idea of the effects.

I think the warnings for the games make sense, because most people see one 3D movie occasionally at the theaters, but you can play a portable console every day. I get warning messages on Wii series games about every half hour, so that part isn't new at all.

Viewing 3D is very different from viewing in real life. In real life you focus on different depth levels. Not everything is in focus at any given time. In 3D movies, everything is the same distance from you, but it looks like it isn't. Your eyes can't focus on something in the foreground or background like they naturally would. That's why some people get headaches, etc. I could see why Nintendo would want to cover their butts from lawsuits on this one, because such unnatural viewing could hurt young eyes still learning how to work in the real world.

You can say "who would buy their 6 year old a 3DS," judgmentally, but think about it. The real question needs to be, " who would buy themselves a 3DS and let their 6 year old play with it sometimes," or, "who would buy thier 6 year old a 3DS in a couple years or so after the price has dropped." Those things can do wonders for kids on long car trips (remembers childhood game gear memories), so there's no judgement here. Even if most parents won't be waiting in line at launch to get one for their kids, there's still plenty of times kids could get their hands on it.

LightSamus

#30

LightSamus said:

I'm one of those lucky people who are just effected by motion sickness, or sea sickness, I don't get headaches from watching movies all day or playing games for 7 hours straight.

The 3DS sounded great at first, but more of these warning are appearing, it might just be a precaution from the big N but at the same time it's got me a bit worried. I think after getting one for the few day I'll use 3D but probably just leave it off for a few months and see what becomes of others from it.

LEGEND_MARIOID

#31

LEGEND_MARIOID said:

You'd be mad to buy his for exclusive use by a 6 year old anyway. There are parents out there who buy iphones, ipods, video games consoles without properly teaching them values against materilaism and not managing their gaming time. Really, such an expnsive console should be for everyone who game in the family to use like he Wii. My lad is 7 and is a real gamer, but his gaming life is managed properly as I understand the problems which gaming can cause from gaming myself when I was a child. It is good entertainment, but far from the most important thing in his life.

Anyway, I don't think I'll allow my 7 year old to use the 3D function much at all. Maybe 5-10mins now and again, but that's it.

As for adult use, that game regimen for 3d use is fine by me. You can use 3DS games comfortably in 2D I would imagine

Arkaein

#32

Arkaein said:

@lz20XX: Perhaps you're not familiar with the term CYA? It stands for "cover your a**". The whole point of a CYA warning is to preempt lawsuits, regardless of whether there is any real danger. So yes, that was basically my point.

@Token Girl: you do a good job elaborating on the one potential hazard that I hinted at, but I want to point out that no one has really proven that these screens are safe for adults either! I believe they are, but that's why I believe Nintendo is just watching out for frivolous lawsuits. If there were any likelihood of real danger from the device they probably wouldn't be bringing it to market.

In any case, there has been some evidence for years (though far from conclusive) that staring too long at anything close is bad for vision development, and may contribute to near-sightedness. This includes reading and TV as well as hand held video game systems. So limiting playtime on handhelds for young children is good advice in any case, regardless of whether a 3D effect is enabled.

TKOWL

#34

TKOWL said:

I can see some kid ignoring this warning and getting his eyes hurt. Then the parents won't blame that kid and sue Nintendo.

Tasuki

#37

Tasuki said:

Wow this is beginning to sound like the Virtual Boy which scares me a bit. One of the biggest problems that made Virtual Boy a flop was because of people complaining about getting headaches and such for long term playing like more than 30 mins. Personally I think that if a playing a video game a certain way can only be used at 30 min intervals it shouldnt be used than. I mean come on how easy is it for someone to just stop playing after 30 mins? What if you cant get to a save point in time or lose track of time, or are on that long 2 hour car ride to Grandma's house for the weekend.

Personally I think this 3D craze is getting out of hand more research should be put into this before marketing it.

DarkKirby

#38

DarkKirby said:

This sounds more like the warnings on medicine then anything else. It's already been thoroughly tested to make sure it's safe (or they wouldn't sell it as it'd be a financial disaster) but the warnings are stressed anyway to make sure the 1 person in a million that claims it screwed them over somehow can't sue. I've even read an article with an optometrist saying there is no proof whatsoever that a device that functions in such a way (the 3DS screen) would harm anyone eyes of any age.

DrCruse

#40

DrCruse said:

This, and the angry red-color of the Virtual Boy's screens were its 2 biggest downfalls.

NintyMan

#42

NintyMan said:

If it was going to have parental locks and a slider, then it would be the parents' fault if their kid developed eye issues, not Nintendo's. Then again, we live in a world where suing is today's method of justification and rapid-fire lawsuits get cash easily. It's not the ignorant kid, it's the careless corporation.

voulg160

#43

voulg160 said:

it seems that nintendo just covering there backside. 3d with out glasses is brand new and the 3ds will be the first thing to implament it i dont think that even the developers know what the possible side affects of the 3ds could be

Capt_N

#44

Capt_N said:

Obviously, No 6yr. old will pay attn. But this is just Nintendo covering themselves in the off-chance of being sued. They can (then) always retort that they have already established these warnings, & perhaps even add (to that phrasing) "thoroughly". Knowing Nintendo, it's almost certain that both the 3DS box, & boot screen contain warnings against this.

I won't necessarily be surprised if anti-video game activists start using/citing the possible eye-damage issues again.

@Tasuki: You are right that before things get marketed, they should be tested thoroughly, however greed outweighs most co.s concerns of consumer safety.

I don't really know if the 3DS will induce health issues, or not. Currently, I'm inclined to say it could go either way. It appears to me to look like the system is simply going to output 3d visuals around somewhere between Gamecube, & Wii caliber. Not necessarily 3d visuals that ppl seem to think. Then again, I could be wrong, as of course, I can only see it in action in vids @ this point.

Makes me wonder if I'll be able to purchase from somewhere else, & then sell one on eBay, or not. Of course, for a fair price, considering as a gamer myself, I know exactly what it's like to want a system/game, & not able to afford it.

Sidenote: If there are any issues, I wonder if it will only pertain to ppl w/ specific eye disorders? For instance, I have an eye disorder, that thank God, actually gets somewhat reversed by video games, & pc screens. It's a tracking disorder that is helped by watching/tracking things onscreen. On the other hand, if there are going to be any issues, they may simply be of the depth perception variety, like ppl who are either near-sighted, or far-sighted.

We will all just have to wait, & see what unfolds.

One last thing I almost forgot ~ I've read doctors saying how 3d movies are capable of hurting the eyes of someone w/ decent vision, & further hurting, or hurting to a larger degree, ppl such as myself, who already have eye disorders. I wonder if the 3d put out by the 3DS is the same?

miketh2005

#46

miketh2005 said:

@warioswoods: How would you know if it did anything to your eyes? It probably isn't saying you'll go blind if you use 3D for more than 30 mins, but just damage your eyes so that you'd never glasses / better glasses SOMETIME in your life, it also might effect some people and not others. So unless your about to die at 80 yrs old, you can't say it hasn't effected you in some way, and even if it hasn't it might have for someone else.

Glade

#47

Glade said:

sigh this worries me.. luckily we have a good bunch of japanese ppl to test it out for a month before it is available to the rest of the world so hopefully we'll get some good reviews :)

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