So what is an appropriate age to start using VR in the classroom? I will preface this by saying that by no means do I consider myself well-versed in the effects of VR on the adolescent mind. I tend to think that an overabundance of caution is needed with something like strapping a smartphone within an inch of your eyes. Luckily, the companies themselves have given us a little bit to go on.
Gear VR and Oculus RiftBoth of these have put out a statements saying that they are not suited for kids under the age of 13. In fact, when both of these devices run Oculus home, there is a warning that you must click through in order to proceed using the technology that states 13 as the magic number. In one statement, Oculus' Brendan Iribe pointed out that the age limit was set to align with Facebook's policy of 13 years or older requirement.
HTC ViveIn contrast to Oculus' wares, the HTC Vive has never specifically mentioned an age limit for its headset but has instead said that the hardware is not intended for children. It's hard to say if they will ever adopt a specific age limit but most of the headsets available include some type of warning about making sure to take breaks particularly if any discomfort is experienced.
CardboardIn this context, I'll assume that all cardboard viewers are basically the same and the Google Cardboard name encompasses a very broad range of mobile VR experiences. Google has stated that kids should be supervised by adults while using Cardboard and that it is not intended to be used for long periods of time.
Like any good Dad I decided to do a little experiment and strap on a cheap Cardboard style viewer to my 2-year-old and see what happened. I should preface that my wife and I try to limit our screen time and while my older kids have tried VR experiences it is never for longer than about 5 minutes at a time.