Virtual Reality: Good or Bad?

Ella Wesson

Virtual reality is a new(ish) technology that has not yet been fully researched. While many people are drawn to it because of its possibilities to advance the way we see the future, the negative effects are much less well-known and can be insidious.

Firstly, there are adverse physical health effects. These can include a loss of spatial awareness, experiences of phantom pain, and seizures in epileptics.  While these physical health effects can be devastating, they do not even compare to the intensity of mental health effects. These include depersonalization, social isolation, and desensitization to violence. Each of these can be caused by normal video game overuse, but their effects are much more drastic in virtual reality games because of the sheer nature of virtual reality to be so immersive. The very thing that appeals to so many people (which is that virtual environments are an escape from reality) is what is causing so many of these terrible mental health effects.

When these mental health issues are magnified, they can lead to an unproductive and unpleasant society, but this is not the only societal impact. Data and privacy concerns, consumer manipulation, and virtual criminality are also very real implications of this new technology. 

Before jumping in and buying a VR headset, take some time to learn about the potential health effects that you can cause yourself as well as the possible impacts on our society as a whole.