Samsung's Gear VR isn't really meant for children for any number of reasons — but especially because of a few pieces of suggested sample content.
It's not always easy being an early adopter. Sometimes you're testing new gadgets in the safety and comfort and solitude of an office. Other times you're standing in your bedroom at 8 p.m. — face firmly hidden behind the new Samsung Gear VR — while your wife's helping the kids with homework. Or trying to, anyway. It turns out that it seeing Dad fumble around with a silly visor and cool sounds coming from his head is distracting.
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- Inside Samsung's Gear VR web browser
- Gear VR vs. Google Cardboard
Who knew, right?
But things got a little more entertaining in those first few minutes of this updated virtual world, thumbing through the preloaded content from Samsung and Oculus — and then frantically trying to figure out how to stop the sounds of ecstasy from being heard by my school-age daughters.
When Samsung says the Gear VR is for folks age 13 and up, they're not kidding.
I'm no prude. I'm a big proponent of an open Internet, where you have to take the good with the bad, and there will forever be a debate over what falls into which side of things. And that's the way it should be.
I'm also a big fan of not being afraid to explore the darker side of mobile tech, which is why we have our dedicated NSFW section. We're adults using expensive toys — so we should all be able to talk about them as adults.
Tame Impala's "The Less I Know the Better," one of Vimeo's Staff Picks.
But I did run into a couple of sample videos in my first few minutes of using the Gear VR that were a little bit of a cause for concern. The Oculus Video section — a very cool futuristic movie theater — is your portal to all kinds of video. Some really good stuff from Facebook 360. (Including my hometown Blue Angels, which absolutely will make you dizzy.) Gaming from Twitch. And a bunch of good content from Vimeo's Staff Picks, which is where you'll find the new video for Tame Impala's "The Less I Know the Better." Good album, so, sure. I'll check it out. In my bedroom. As the kids are doing their homework. My brain knew full well only I could see what I was seeing, but everyone could hear what I was hearing. (Here's the link — and if you didn't figure it out by now, it's kinda NSFW.)
Pro tip: Yanking the Gear VR off your head may well be the fastest way to shut it up.
From "horny af," another of Vimeo's Staff Picks.
So, fine. One interesting sample video that I wouldn't really want my kids to see. Stranger things have happened. But then there's the far less subtle "Horny AF" from American Millennial, also right there on the first page of Vimeo's listings. Decent song. Trippy video (sort of a throwback to "Kids") — but, again, probably not something I want my kids to stumble into, particularly with the prominent links to the "Cocaine USA" tumblr. (Again, a NSFW link for the video in question.)
Nothing really new here, of course, and nothing inherently special about any of this being on Gear VR, which really just means it's all on a smartphone, and it's all available from a smartphone in the first place. It's just a little surprising to not have to go looking for it on Gear VR. Plus there's the burgeoning adult virtual reality market — the press releases already are rolling in from companies like ViRP and BaDoink, both of which offer content specifically for Gear VR (as well as for Cardboard and Oculus proper). (We'll leave the logistics of that sort of thing for another time, though we can say that Gear VR only really works while you're standing up.)
In any event, if you have kids they're going to want to try Gear VR for a minute. You probably shouldn't let them anyway — see our podcast with Dr. Joe Cohen on kids and VR for more on that. But just be a little wary of what's just a few layers down the moment they strap on Gear VR.
For everyone else, have a blast.
It's a big world out there, and it's not all Rated G. Welcome to Android Central's NSFW section — home to sex, booze and other stories of an adult nature. It's not for everyone — especially if you're underage —and that's OK. Be adult. Be respectful. And be responsible.