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Meta to Allow Kids Aged 10-12 in VR With Parental Approval

Meta made a significant announcement, revealing plans to expand its VR accessibility for younger users aged 10 to 12
July 11, 2024

Meta made headlines recently by announcing a significant update for its VR platform, Oculus Quest, aimed at young users aged 10 to 12. This update will allow children in this age group to engage with others in virtual reality, provided they have parental approval. Previously, children were restricted from interacting with other users on Quest.

In the upcoming update, Meta introduces a parental control feature that empowers parents to individually approve contacts with whom their child can chat, call, or participate in parent-approved VR activities. This move is part of Meta's strategy to familiarize younger users with VR technology early on, potentially shaping their future engagement with it. Moreover, Meta aims to compete more directly with platforms like Roblox and Microsoft's Minecraft, which are already immensely popular among young audiences.

Parents will have the ability to manage approved contacts by adding them to their child's Following and Followers lists. Children can also request to add followers as approved contacts, with parents retaining the option to remove approvals at any time.

Meta's initiative follows its decision last year to lower the recommended age for using Oculus Quest from 13 to 10 and introduce parent-managed accounts tailored for this age group. These accounts grant access to age-appropriate VR experiences while addressing parental concerns about child safety in virtual environments.

However, Meta's move into social VR for children comes amidst increasing scrutiny and regulatory pressure on tech companies regarding child safety online. As Congress continues to scrutinize platforms like Meta, TikTok, and Snapchat for safeguarding young users, Meta's new features aim to strike a balance between innovation and responsible use of VR technology among children.

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