Meta has announced that it is lowering the age requirement for its Meta Quest virtual reality accounts to children aged between 10 and 12, who will now be able to set up VR identities under 'parent-managed' profiles. As part of the new arrangement, parents will be required to give their approval for the creation of an account, and they will have control over the apps their preteens can download from Meta's app store.
The company has stated that it will only recommend age-appropriate apps based on the age information shared by parents. Additionally, young users will not be served ads, and parents will be able to limit the duration of VR use each day. They can also monitor their children's VR activities by casting to a phone or TV.
To mitigate risks, pre-teen Horizon profiles will automatically be set to private to limit potential predatory behavior. Meta has emphasized that these measures are being built in accordance with its Responsible Innovation Principles and its commitment to creating safe experiences for young users.
Despite these assurances, concerns remain due to a lack of definitive data on the possible psychological and physiological effects of prolonged VR use, particularly with respect to immersive social interactions. Questions have also been raised about the practicality of parents being able to monitor their children's online activities continuously.