Meta announced it’s reducing age requirements for Quest users, bringing the previous 13+ minimum down to 10+. The company says the policy change will come alongside new parent-managed accounts for Quest 2 and the upcoming Quest 3, which the company says will help keep preteens safe.

As anyone who has dipped their toes into social VR apps such as Rec Room or VRChat can probably attest, young kids are broadly already using VR headsets. Now Meta is introducing a scheme that will allow 10, 11 and 12-year-olds to have their own parent-managed accounts for the first time.

Slated to launch later this year, Meta says in a blogpost that its new parent-managed Meta accounts will require preteens to get their parent’s approval to set up an account, giving adults control over what apps their preteens can download from the Meta app store.

Image courtesy Meta

These parent-managed accounts will include controls to manage things like screen time limits, privacy and safety settings, and access to specific types of content, which will specify whether apps have a social component.

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Additionally, Meta says preteens won’t be served ads, and parents will be able to choose whether their child’s usage data will be shared with Meta. Parents will also be able to delete profiles, including all of the data associated with it, the company says.

That’s a fairly strong policy reversal. At the time of this writing, Meta’s Safety Center portal maintains that Meta VR headsets “are not toys” and that younger children have “greater risks of injury and adverse effects than older users.”

Notably, Meta’s own social VR app Meta Horizon Worlds is also retaining its 13+ age requirement in the US and Canada (18+ in Europe).

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Well before the first modern XR products hit the market, Scott recognized the potential of the technology and set out to understand and document its growth. He has been professionally reporting on the space for nearly a decade as Editor at Road to VR, authoring more than 4,000 articles on the topic. Scott brings that seasoned insight to his reporting from major industry events across the globe.
  • another juan

    it makes sense. the new policy is more of an admission that kids are one of the main demographics for vr nowadays; and if they aspire to reach billions of users in 15 years, that’s precisely the user base they should be focusing on today.

    • Guest

      Indeed, from a business perspective it does make sense. I do wonder, however, if they’re putting in the proper consideration for their protection. Not only from other malicious users, but possible effects for developing brains and eyes prior to the age of puberty. To me, it’s just another ruthless move by Zuckerberg, skirting the line of ethics to ensure he remains the leader in XR.

      I remember reading from many industry players (small and large) complaining over the years that he intentionally overhired to try and starve all the other competing XR companies of talent so that nobody could seriously challenge him. Then after securing his position, Facebook/Meta fired more employees than any of the other tech companies. 21k at a minimum, I believe. That’s almost triple the FAANG-type averages.

  • Hivemind9000

    I thought I read somewhere that the vergence-accommodation conflict in VR was bad for young, developing eyes?

    • Sven Viking

      Yes, but the ages affected are uncertain. Apparently tests with monkeys watching stereoscopic 3D videos for hours per day showed their eyes had developed far enough by the age of 1 for it not to be (much of?) a problem, for example, but exactly how that applies to humans is another question. There’d likely be ethical issues involved in forcing kids to use it and then checking whether their eyesight is ruined.

      • Guest

        There’d likely be ethical issues involved in forcing kids to use it and then checking whether their eyesight is ruined.

        Well with this change, we’re basically going to be doing just that anyways. We’ll see soon enough.

    • Jistuce

      This has been a concern for a long time, but it is pretty gray area.

      I believe five was the suggested “finish line” in the time of the Virtual Boy. Nintendo recommended seven, and as I recall said they’d included a two year safety margin.

      It doesn’t help that brains are weird, and everyone’s brain develops differently. Heck, some people’s brains just never figure out how to use both eyes to DO stereo vision without some outside attempt to force it(and then VR games become medical tools!)

  • If this means they are truly going to increase parental controls I fully support this. I’ll be frank, one of the major reasons I returned my Quest 2 last year was due to the severe lack of parental controls. Not because I have kids, but because I have a porn problem. Facebook/meta/Quest dragged it’s heels a LOT regarding parental controls, frankly I don’t care what excuse they have make up for themselves to implement them as long as it happens. I now more eagerly await the Quest 3 (and hope the facebook lawsuit payout will cover it *grin*)

  • david vincent

    That’s stupid, there are so many good reasons to not let kids play with VR, at least not on a daily basis.

    • Shuozhe Nan

      Reminds me of GTA & Country strike when I was a kid. Glad Im on the other site this time

  • Derek Kent

    Nice, before the visual cortex has fully formed. Perfect for stunting development. good on them.

  • xyzs

    Because only kids this young do not realize how basic the graphics are.

  • fcpw

    Hook em while they’re young! Why not lean into the drug deal FaceBook truly is?