Facebook Owner Plans To Allow 10 Yr Olds To Access Virtual Reality

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Meta wants 10 year olds in Metaverse

virtual reality

Despite increasing concerns about children spending too much time on social media, Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, plans to open a digital gateway for kids as young as ten to enter virtual reality via the Meta Quest headset.

Meta Platforms, which oversees the social media empire created by Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, disclosed that it aims to lower the minimum age for a Quest account from 13 years old to 10 years old in a Friday blog post.

The company has reached out to regulators about its plans, which could set off privacy and safety concerns for parents and watchdogs.

Breitbart reports: The Menlo Park, California, company framed the change coming later this year as a family-friendly way for more people to explore artificial realms that Zuckerberg touts as the “metaverse.”

The move to lure preteens into a virtual world filled with digital avatars and other technological fabrications comes just weeks after U.S. Surgeon General Vivek Murthy called upon tech companies and lawmakers to take steps to protect children from the potentially harmful mental and emotional effects of too much exposure to social media.

Both Facebook and Instagram for years have been under fire for using tactics that get kids hooked on social media at a young age, undercutting their real-life relationships with friends and families while exposing them to the risk of online bullying and abuse by sexual predators.

In its blog post, Meta said that parents will retain control over their children’s accounts for the Quest 2 and Quest 3 headsets and promised that preteen access will be limited to “age-appropriate” apps deploying virtual reality, or VR. Preteens won’t be able to have a Quest account without explicit approval from their parents and all apps used on the platform will require parental consent, too, according to the company, which is recommending the younger age group be limited to a two-hour daily time limit on the headset.

Other safeguards will include setting all preteen accounts to a private setting by default and a pledge not to show them any ads that generate most of Meta’s revenue.

“We’re building this with our Responsible Innovation Principles and our commitment to building safe, positive experiences for young people at the forefront,” Meta wrote in the blog post.

he company also is providing parents with extensive guidance when assessing whether they should allow a 10- to -12-year-old to use a virtual reality headset. One section of the guide cites “a growing body of research examining the positive effects of VR in medical/clinical contexts, including interventions to support the development of social competence skills, to distract from painful or anxiety-inducing medical procedures, and to support specific skill development in specialized populations,” such as children with cerebral palsy.

By expanding the potential audience for the Quest, Zuckerberg appears to be taking another significant step toward his goal of sculpting the metaverse into a sphere that eventually will be as popular as Facebook and Instagram have become since he started the company in a college dorm room nearly 20 years ago.

Niamh Harris
About Niamh Harris 15022 Articles
I am an alternative health practitioner interested in helping others reach their maximum potential.