In a bold move that has sparked curiosity and concern, Mark Zuckerberg-led Meta Platforms Inc. META has lowered the minimum age for its Quest headset, reigniting the debate over children’s access to virtual reality experiences.
What Happened: In a significant policy change, Meta has revised the minimum age requirement for its popular Quest headsets, lowering it from 13 to 10.
This update allows children as young as 10 to immerse themselves in the VR world and has ignited a flurry of discussions surrounding the potential impact on child development, online safety and parental supervision.
In a blog posted on Friday, Meta said that parents will play a pivotal role in this new framework. To create a kid’s account, parent approval will be mandatory.
The company further said that only age-appropriate and safe apps would be recommended for the younger demographic. Additionally, ads will not be displayed.
“Parent-managed Meta Horizon profiles will be automatically set to private, meaning people won’t be able to follow preteens without their or their parent’s approval,” the company said.
It is pertinent to note that the responsibility of turning off this safety feature lies solely with the parents, emphasizing their crucial role in monitoring their child’s online activities.
Why It’s Important: In April, an opposition led by online safety groups, including Fairplay, the Center for Countering Digital Hate and Common Sense Media, sent a letter to Zuckerberg, stating that the company “must wait for more peer-reviewed research on the potential risks of the metaverse to be certain that children and teens would be safe.”
The letter highlighted a report suggesting that users under the age of 18 are already being subjected to harassment from adults on the platform.
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