Dec. 30, 2010 -- Children under age 6 should not use a forthcoming portable 3D video game player because it could permanently damage their eyesight, its manufacturer warned.
The Japanese company Nintendo plans to introduce its 3DS player in Japan in late February, with launches in the U.S. and other markets soon after.
On its Japanese-language website, Nintendo has posted a warning against use of the device in 3D mode by children younger than 6, citing "a potential impact on the growth of children's eyes."
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The company indicated that the danger lies in the fact that the neural processing that underlies eyesight is still developing in young children.
As a result, the company suggested, the delivery of different artificial images to the left and right eye -- as all 3D video systems do -- could be harmful to proper eyesight development.
The device can be switched to a 2D mode that should be safe for children, it said.
Nintendo also recommended that adult 3DS users take breaks every 30 minutes when playing 3D games.
Users of current 3D systems that play on home television screens have reported nausea as well as eyestrain after prolonged usage.
Nintendo and other manufacturers currently recommend that users take regular breaks from these games, although the new warning is the first to suggest a 30-minute playtime limit.