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Is your child old enough for a VR headset? BestReviews tech expert explains

Gaming has seen a massive boom over the last 20 years, thanks to technological advancements and its appeal to all ages. Virtual reality is one of the latest ways for people to play video games, leading many parents to wonder if it's safe for their kids. We interviewed Jaime Vazquez, BestReviews tech expert, to learn more about VR safety for children.

In this article: Orzly Nintendo Switch VR HeadsetMeta Quest 2 and Kafri Charging Dock For Oculus Quest 2.

VR online safety

You've likely heard of the metaverse, online worlds where people interact with each other using virtual avatars. These virtual worlds can be exciting, but like other online meeting places, they also can be dangerous.

"A VR headset is a portal into a brand new digital space, so parents are right to be concerned," Vazquez said. "The first thing you need to do is have a strategy. Consider which apps and services you'll use to keep your kid safe. Many VR headsets have parental controls built in." For example, Meta Quest headsets let you lock certain apps that can only be unlocked by drawing a specific pattern with the controller.

Many Wi-Fi routers have parental control features that let you limit access at the device or website level. Say you want to prevent your child from playing Roblox online. In this case, you'd likely need to navigate to your router's parental control settings and block and If you have a reasonably new router, you should learn more about its parental control capabilities. 

Another thing to consider is your familiarity with these online meeting places. "If your kid uses the metaverse or other online games, consider going with them or testing it out before they play," Vazquez said.

If you have two VR headsets, you can join your child in these online worlds and monitor their behavior first-hand. Alternatively, some VR headsets let you cast your gameplay to nearby TVs so you can watch your child without wearing a headset.

VR physical safety

Once you've outlined your online safety strategy, you'll want to consider your child's physical safety. Kids need to have a safe space to use virtual reality since they won't be able to see the world around them. Keep obstructions off the floor and away from their hands. 

"If you have a kid under 12, start with a less expensive set to try it out before you commit," Vazquez said. Buying a cheaper headset at first will let you know if VR is too harsh on their eyes or they experience motion sickness. 

You can do several things to alleviate motion sickness, though. For example, many games let you darken the screen's corner in the settings menu. Other games let you teleport instead of walking or running. If all else fails, ensure they're wearing the headset properly.

"Remember that not all activities in the virtual world require movement," Vazquez said. "My friend loves going to virtual theaters. Your first activity doesn't have to be a triathlon."

Virtual reality FAQ

Q. What do you need to use virtual reality?

A. In most cases, you'll only need a VR headset. Still, some sets may require a gaming PC, console or smartphone.

Q. How much does a VR headset cost?

A. Entry-level ones that use smartphones typically cost $30-$150. Midrange models are around $300-$600, and those that require a gaming PC can run over $1,000.

Q. What are the pros and cons of using VR?

A. It creates an immersive gaming experience you can't emulate with PCs or consoles. On the other hand, it can cause motion sickness and creates new ways for scammers to interact with people.

Virtual reality products our expert recommends

Orzly Nintendo Switch VR Headset

This affordable entry-level headset is ideal for kids who own a Nintendo Switch. Its built-in focus dial lets you adjust the game to your eyes. It's made with comfortable padding. 

Sold by Amazon

Meta Quest 2

This has built-in parental controls to help keep your kids safe. The Guardian Boundary feature lets you set up a virtual play space and tells you if you move outside the boundary. It doesn't require a PC, console or smartphone.

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Kafri Charging Dock For Oculus Quest 2

This stand makes it easy to charge your controllers and store your headset. It features sleek RGB lighting with various lighting effects. It has an additional USB-C port so you can charge your phone.

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Quest 2 VR Silicone Face Cover

This kit lets you customize the way your VR headset looks. Silicone grips make it easier to use your controllers, and the face cover helps prevent light leakage. It comes in 12 designs.

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Zyber Charging Dock For Meta Quest 2

This dock charges your headset and controllers in around three to four hours. It is easy to set up and features a convenient design.

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Breathable VR Eye Mask Cover

This face cover features a breathable design that reduces sweat while you play. It's available in three colors.

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BNext VR Smartphone Headset

This device is compatible with iPhone and Android devices. It features a breathable, comfortable design. It's available with or without a controller.

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Amazon Eero Pro 6E Mesh Wi-Fi Router

This system can be controlled with Alexa voice commands. The setup is straightforward, and tech support is helpful. It has robust parental control features. The app lets you see historical data, such as the number of ads or threats it has blocked.

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Asus AC1900 Wi-Fi Router

This router is capable of impressive speeds with little to no lag. It has intuitive parental controls. It can be controlled and updated using the Asus smartphone app.

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TP-Link AX6600 Deco Tri-Band Wi-Fi 6 Mesh System

This Wi-Fi system lets you run up to 200 devices. It features easy-to-use parental controls. Many reviewers were impressed with TP-Link's tech-support team.

Sold by Amazon

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Cody Stewart writes for BestReviews. BestReviews has helped millions of consumers simplify their purchasing decisions, saving them time and money.

BestReviews spends thousands of hours researching, analyzing, and testing products to recommend the best picks for most consumers.