Parents' Guide to

Google Cardboard

By Mieke VanderBorght, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 7+

Brief intro to virtual reality leaves you wanting more.

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A few well-chosen experiences offer only a small taste of the immersive feel of virtual reality. Google Cardboard works best as a tutorial for how to use virtual reality with your phone and a viewer and as a sample of the different things that virtual reality can offer. It's great fun to feel like you're standing along a canal in Venice or to look all around you to explore an exhibition hall at the National Air and Space Museum. The fun will probably end quickly, though, since each of these experiences is a still photo (rather than a video) and once you've turned all around -- or moved forward or backward a bit -- there's not much else to see. The animated arctic journey offers motion but is also a pretty quick shot. Bottom line: Virtual reality can be a super-cool experience, and Google Cardboard feels like a limited practice run. Kids who are enchanted by the experience will certainly want more. Parents may want to consider the potential physical and emotional effects, particularly on sensitive kids who may feel nauseated, get headaches, or feel overwhelmed by the immersive experience. VR isn't recommended for little kids.

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