As Nintendo prepare for the release of their latest masterpiece – the Nintendo 3DS – there has been uproar over the company’s web warning that the brand new console could damage the developing eyesight of young children.
Nintendo have – some would say responsibly, others would say cowardly – warned parents of the potential of their new 3D gaming system to negatively affect the way young brains process regular images after using the console.
However, there is some scepticism about the purpose of this warning as industry insiders believe it is more corporate caution than bona fide health risk. It is thought that rather than the 3DS being a genuine health risk for young eyes, Nintendo are simply covering their backs in way of any possible future complaints.
These sorts of happenings are not uncommon in the industry however and 3D panics tend to happen every few years or so. Extensive research has been carried out on the idea and it seems to indicate that there is very little to worry about as long as access to such gaming systems is sensibly permitted. In truth, the risk that the new 3DS poses is no more significant than more traditional, glasses-based 3D consumer products like TVs.
Similarly, the apparent risk the Nintendo 3DS poses is in reality no different to the health and safety warnings regarding other non-3D gaming systems that young children have been using for years. All makers of such products warn of the possibility of eye strain and the tiny potential of these gaming systems for triggering seizures and it is indisputable that it is important for parents to take these warnings on board.
Nevertheless, the truth of the matter is that companies make these claims as a way of protecting themselves from potential legal issues and lawsuits in the years to come. They are hyped up versions of the truth that will free the company of responsibility for any possible effect the product has on a child in the future – an effect that is likely to be significantly less dramatic if it was to happen at all.
In reality, these warnings echo and magnify the very real warning of the fact that parents should take responsibility not only for controlling the content of their children’s games but should also take responsibility for restricting the gaming habits of their children.
Excessive and prolonged use of gaming systems is most definitely not good for a child’s health and parents should be sure to keep this in mind. Nevertheless, it is important not to overreact on this one – it is simply the case that the Nintendo 3DS is no more of a risk than its predecessors as long as the product is used in a safe, sensible and controlled manner.