Virtual Reality (VR) | American's new addiction?
Psychiatrist Keith Ablow is likely bracing himself for an onslaught of problems associated with the use of virtual reality (VR) devices as they roll into American homes like never before in 2016. In May 2014, Ablow sounded the alarm regarding VR's addictive potentiality. In an article published in BBC news, Ablow states that like most drugs, technological drugs like facebook and VR increase the pleasure centers of the brain, which in some cases "causes people to become psychiatrically ill." He goes on to theorize that Oculus virtual reality "will make matters worse." Oculus Rift creators recently announced that the device will sell for $599, and it seems people around the country are willing to shell out the money to get their hands on this new device.
reSTART happens to agree with Dr. Ablow in his concern for America's children, and the likely impact these devices will have on users. Seven years of evidence from the reSTART team demonstrates that heavy digital media use (e.g., problematic video gaming, cell phone overuse, binge surfing, etc.) is positively associated an intensity in mental health symptoms such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, and in many cases, autism spectrum traits and features. We concur with Dr. Albow's view that VR may be toxic to the developing brain. Currently there is no longitudinal data showing the safety and efficacy of virtual reality. We as a society are conducting a grand experiment on young people, and early adopters. Although VR use has been demonstrated to have some positive effects in the lab, an experiment of this magnitude is likely to bring out the negative effects of VR. Current research shows that upwards of 10% of the tech using population is in need for some form of treatment. VR may increase these stats.