ITGS Syllabus

Sunday, June 04, 2006

Topic 85

Health Issues Related to Virtual Reality by Akira Jackson

First of all virtual reality is a simulation that is created by computers including visual, sound and sensory in formations. This information often comes through computer screens, and headphones. These virtual realities are often used for training new doctors, pilots, combat trainings and of course games.

The main issue related to virtual reality is the physical health and mental health of the user. For example there was a experiment where the participants was required to participate in a interactive virtual environment for 50 minutes and the participants reported to have some degree of discomfort, especially at the latter part of the experiment. Also they had changes in adrenaline levels and had an increase in heart rate. From my experience long periods of computer games and TV also causes headaches. Another reason that virtual reality can be a harm to health is the fact that some people get too hooked in the world of virtual reality they cant leave from it. For example I’ve read many articles that reported deaths while playing games continuously. Although most people don’t go to this extreme level but it is still a threat to people’s health. Also I read other articles saying that babies died because the parents were playing games instead of taking care of their child. So sometimes-virtual reality can be like a drug that keeps you addicted.

A few ways to solve these problems is to simply set a time period you use the virtual reality. This will decrease any symptom that occurs from using virtual reality for a long period of time, for example the headache would not happen if you are exposed for only 30 minutes compare to 4 hours of exposure where you would have an extremely painful headache. Another way to improve the situation is to reduce the strain to your eyes by taking short breaks between using the virtual reality. This would certainly reduce the symptoms caused by virtual reality.

The main ethical issue concerning virtual reality is responsibility. This is because some people get too addicted to virtual reality they do not take care of their kids and their lives. This is extremely unethical because the kid might die from lack of food or other reasons because the parents are not responsible enough.

People who are responsible are the users themselves. This is because no one asked to use it unless it is required for training for your jobs. If virtual reality training is required then the person who planned the training is responsible, but if it is not required it is the users fault. The users should be aware of their actions and use of virtual reality.

In the case of games, there is no purpose to use virtual reality; therefore the alternate decision can be simply not to play. In case of trainings for jobs they can teach manually using substitutes. For example in case of doctors they can use dead bodies and watch operations instead.

There is no consequence for not playing games but in case of the trainings there is a few consequences. For example doctors might not be so confident if they don’t have any virtual reality trainings. This would also be the same for soldiers and pilots that would not receive the virtual reality training.

Virtual reality is not all bad. In case of TV you get information, and incase of virtual reality trainings you get confidence and feeling that you are experienced and that you are ready. Also there is a study that shows that virtual reality training increases the doctor’s efficiency to work with their hands. This proves that virtual reality can improve your skill for jobs although it has some down sides.


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