The Most Reliable Parental Control App
FamiSafe lets parents control screen time, track real-time location and detect inappropriate content on kids' devices.
Did you know that VR headsets for kids were the hottest gift last Christmas? According to reports on social media, the Oculus app was among the top downloads of the festive season, proving that virtual reality is slowly becoming a favorite among different age groups. However, one question remains. What is the best VR headset for kids?
Below is all you need to know about what to look for when buying one for your children. In addition, you will discover the key features of each VR headset and whether they are worth the investment.
Part1: Oculus series.
The oculus series of VR headsets are the most popular headset for most parents and gamers. Here is all you need to know about the different models available under the series.
Oculus Rift S
The Oculus rift is the pioneer model of the series, making its debut back in 2016.
They are a product from Oculus VR, a subsidiary of Meta Platforms (formerly Facebook Inc.). The original price was $1,999.00 for the entire set. However, you can now get it for as low as $499.99 from Amazon.
The full kit includes the VR headset, Oculus Touch controllers, and a USB Type-C cable, depending on the retailer. According to the manufacturer, the minimum requirements for an immersive gaming experience are as follows:
• An I3 Intel 6100 processor
• At least 8 GB of RAM.
• For a graphics processing unit, the manufacturer recommends an NVIDIA GTX 970 or AMD Radeon 290.
• Three USB ports version 3.0.
• Windows 8 and above.
The target market for the Oculus Rift is hardcore gamers looking for a more immersive experience. This is because the unit does not feature an internal processor or graphics processing unit. In addition, the VR headset was discontinued in 2021 in favor of the more advanced Oculus Quest series.
In terms of parental control features, you can access these through the Oculus App. In addition, the developer does not permit users below thirteen years to use the device.
Oculus Quest 2
The Oculus Quest 2 is the next generation of VR headset from Meta’s subsidiary Oculus VR. It offers a sleeker design that is clean and free of unnecessary buttons as compared to previous models. Some of the improvements include the following:
• The headset is extremely light, only weighs 1.1 pounds, and does not hug your face as previous models like the Rift and Oculus Quest.
• The power button is discreetly placed on the right side of the headset, with the USB-C port and headphone jack neatly on the left.
• You can adjust the headset volume from the volume buttons below the headset.
• Additionally, the Oculus Quest 2 offers three viewing settings, which you can adjust manually by pinching or spreading the lenses.
The Oculus Quest 2 retails for $299 for the 64 GB model and $399 for the 256 GB model. Moreover, most gamers choose the 256 GB model since it can hold more games and apps. In addition, most Oculus Quest 2 VR headset users prefer it as you do not require a PC to operate it. Furthermore, the Qualcomm Snapdragon XR2 is powerful enough to run most games available from the official Oculus app.
An important point to consider is that from 2023 all users will require to log in to their Facebook accounts to use the device. Therefore, the new policy is a concern since Facebook does not have the best record on online safety.
Meta Quest 2
The Meta Quest 2 is the same VR headset for kids as the Oculus Quest 2. Its name change is a rebranding to incorporate the brand under Meta since they acquired the company back in 2014. In addition, the Meta Quest 2 continues to enjoy positive reviews given the low price point and superior hardware compared to other VR headsets.
Currently, parental controls are available via the Oculus official app. However, the announcement that users will need to log in to their Facebook accounts from 2023 leaves question marks on how you can protect your child’s cyber life.
Part2: Valve VR
The Valve Index VR headset is arguably one of the best in the market, considering the level of control it gives you. Retailing at $999, the Valve Index VR is not the cheapest. However, you get the following items:
- A VR headset.
- Motion Tracking Base Stations
- Advanced Controls
- A display port cable for your gaming PC
- A power cord for the VR Headset
- USB 3.0 cables for your controllers
According to Valve, the VR headset’s target market is hardcore gamers since they have the necessary equipment to enjoy the full experience. In addition, the headset is capable of a refresh rate of up to 144 Hz, and the dual LCD display offers images of 1440 X 1600 resolution for each eye. As such, you can enjoy the best gaming experience when playing titles such as Half-Life: Alyx and Microsoft Flight Simulator.
Part3: PS5 VR
Another option to consider as the best VR headset for kids is the PS5 VR. Despite the PS5 console not being an exclusive virtual reality platform, you can still find plenty of titles to fulfill your cravings. In addition, the PS5 VR costs $300 and requires the console to function.
However, unlike the PS4, you will connect the unit to a breakout box that contains cables for power, your console, the PlayStation Camera, and your television. In addition, you will need the Dual Shock controllers to play the virtual reality.
Part4: Why VR as a gift is not recommended?
Despite virtual reality becoming more accessible, there are still concerns about whether the gadgets are appropriate for younger audiences. Here are reasons why VR as a gift is not recommended:
Virtual reality is a relatively new technology, and the legislation is still vague. For example, Google and Meta do not allow users below thirteen years. On the other hand, the PlayStation VR user age limit is over twelve years. The inconsistency on age limits makes it difficult for parents to determine if VR is the best gift for their young ones.
- 1. Reports indicate that Virtual Reality can cause vision problems.
- Most virtual reality headsets offer high-resolution imagery at close range. As such, engaging with virtual reality for long-range periods can cause eye fatigue or blurry vision. However, you can mitigate this by limiting your screen time by taking regular breaks during your sessions.
- 2. It can be prohibitively expensive.
- Most VR headsets cost between $299 to $1999. In addition, you may require to purchase additional hardware to better your experience. For example, the Valve VR headset requires you to own a gaming PC to use its VR platform. In addition, platforms such as Minecraft, Roblox, and Steam VR monetize most of the content, resulting in you spending more money. The high entry costs are why most people do not recommend virtual reality as the best gift.
- 3. You may lose interest after a short time.
- It is easy to lose interest after engaging with a virtual reality platform. This is because most platforms focus on gaming without offering any alternative content. As such, they become monotonous, causing you to lose interest after some time. Furthermore, considering the expensive entry costs for the equipment, it becomes difficult to justify virtual reality as a worthy investment.
- 4. Virtual Reality platforms only offer basic online protection.
- Finally, VR is not recommended as a gift because of the poor online protections that service providers offer. For example, Roblox still does not have an effective age verification system in place. All it asks is for your date of birth, and you are good to go. As such, this vulnerability makes it easy for anyone to fake their date of birth and access the platform.
Furthermore, several reports of criminal activity on virtual reality platforms exist. Some of the cases include cyberbullying, exposure to explicit content, and extortion. Unless service providers improve their online security systems and create a safer gaming space, virtual reality headsets are not a recommended gift for kids.
Connect with this video to prevent the kid from accessing gaming websites.
What are the other versions of the Oculus VR headset can you purchase?
Currently, there are three versions of the Oculus VR headset that you can purchase. They include the following:
• Oculus Rift S is an advancement of the company’s first virtual reality headset.
• Oculus Quest 2, also known as Meta Quest 2 symbolizes Meta’s acquisition of Oculus.
• Oculus Go is the most affordable of the series. It retails for $149 for the 32 GB version.
Do you need to connect your virtual reality headset to a gaming computer to use it?
No, there are stand-alone VR headsets available for purchase that do not require a gaming computer. For example, Vive Focus 3 and the HP Reverb G2 are stand-alone virtual reality headsets that you can use on a computer with standard specifications. This is because they have built-in processors and graphics processing units that are powerful enough to handle most games.