This month, Nintendo plans to release its new 3DS player with a special bonus (mentioned in Japanese on their website): a “potential impact on the growth of children’s eyes”! Hooray!
Because children under six have eyesight that is still developing, Nintendo recommends that they not use this system— AT ALL– unless they are playing it in boring old 2D mode. And no one, even adults, should play in 3D mode for longer than thirty minutes. (Which is totally fine because adults who play video games would never overdo it or anything, plus they always have their moms around to make them turn them off.)
So does Nintendo want me to think that my six-years-and-five-months-old son is totally in the clear? Can he play for say, eight minutes, then get off without screwing up his neural pathways for life? And what about when he leaves it around and my three-year-old picks it up? I mean, she’s not an infant, so she’s got a good forty safe seconds, right?
The Wall Street Journal’s health blog is asking this morning whether this news will make parents less likely to buy this game system. I think not. Who reads warning labels? Hell, dropside cribs just got outlawed last week, and they’ve been smothering babies for years. No, I think Nintendo will bring this to market, and kids will beg their parents to buy it, and most of their parents will have no idea that it is a product that Nintendo is saying, up front, is an unsafe one.
Here’s my question: does merely saying “this product will screw up your kids’ eyesight” absolve Nintendo of any responsibility once that actually happens? Is the 3DS the next Happy Fun Ball?
And do you think maybe Nintendo shouldn’t release this eye-warping product at all?