No 3D tech for young kids: Watchdog

No 3D tech for young kids: Watchdog
WATCH OUT! Children under six should not be exposed to 3D technologies - like films viewed with this type of glasses - while those under 13 can have moderate access, says French watchdog Anses.

PARIS - A French health watchdog has recommended that children under six be denied access to 3D films, computers and video games, and that those up to 13 have "moderate" access.

The advice is based on a "pioneering" analysis of scientific research into the possible effects of 3D imaging on the developing eye, the Anses agency said yesterday.

It pointed to an explosion of 3D technology in gadgets, including mobile phones.

Anses "recommends that children under six, whose visual system is still developing, not be exposed to these technologies, and that use by children under 13 be moderate", it said in a statement.

Anses pointed to disruption in "vergence accommodation" - when a person focuses both eyes on the subject he is looking at.

When watching a 3D presentation on screen, the process of assimilating a three-dimensional effect is different.

The eyes are required to look at images in two different places at the same time before the images are married into a single one by the brain.

"In children, and particularly before the age of six, the health effects of this vergence-accommodation conflict could be much more severe given the active development of the visual system at this time," said the statement.

Anses' official English name is the French Agency for Food, Environmental and Occupational Health & Safety.

It makes recommendations, although these are not necessarily taken up by the government into policy or law.

Specialists have raised questions over the safety of 3D technology for children's vision, but these concerns have rarely been formulated into guidelines - and even more rarely into policy.

Italy stands out as a country whose health ministry has sought to restrict the use of 3D glasses by young children - translating a similar recommendation by its national health agency into an official circular dated July 31 last year.

Game-maker Nintendo says on its website: "Viewing of 3D images by children six and under may cause vision damage." It advises use of the parental-control feature on consoles "to restrict the display of 3D images for children six and under".

Samsung says prolonged 3D television viewing has the same straining effects as traditional TV.

The American Optometric Association website says no detrimental effects from 3D viewing had been reported at any age.

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