Meta Platforms launched its latest generation mixed reality headset, the Quest 3, earlier this month. The Mark Zuckerberg-led company, which currently dominates the market for augmented reality and virtual reality devices, is now lowering the minimum age for Meta Quest account users from 13 years to 10 years. The latest development will allow parents to set up parent-managed meta accounts for kids ages 10 and 12 on the Quest 2 and Quest 3 meta headsets later this year. Meta says no ads will be served to users in this age group. It also recommends apps that are rated safe for children.
The Facebook parent company, via a blog entry announced on Friday that starting later this year, parents will be able to create accounts for Meta Quest 2 and Quest 3 headsets for their children ages 10-12. The company emphasizes that teens must get parental consent to set up an account and download apps onto the virtual reality headsets.
Meta will use children’s ages to “provide age-appropriate experiences” across the App Store, such as recommending age-appropriate apps. Even if the age limit is lowered, parents are promised to retain control over the apps their children download from the Meta Quest platform. Also, they could block access to apps at any time, Meta says.
Addressing parents’ concerns, Meta says parents can set time limits for children’s use of headsets and schedule breaks from using the devices. There will be options to cast the VR experiences to a phone or TV screen, allowing parents to monitor what their kids are watching while using the headset.
In addition, it is promised that metaprofiles of children between the ages of 10 and 12 will be set to “private” by default. This feature would prevent unknown people from following youngsters without their consent or that of their parents. This age group’s active status and current app usage is also hidden from others by default, unless their parents allow sharing this information. Additionally, minors cannot change the default privacy and security settings.
No ads will be served to participants in this age group. Parents can choose whether their child’s information may be used to improve the Company’s services. Also, parents can delete their child’s account and associated user data, Meta added.
Meta announced that it is working with the developer community to add more age-appropriate apps and games to the Meta Quest platform for this age group. Starting now, Meta’s social virtual reality app, Horizon Worlds, will be accessible to people ages 13 and older in the US and Canada. In Europe, users over the age of 18 can access it.