Meta announced that it has reduced the minimum age requirement for its Quest 2 and the Quest 3 VR headset which is scheduled to launch in the fall season. Starting later this year, kids aged 10 years and above will be able to use Meta's VR headsets with their separate accounts.
However, this doesn't mean kids will be able to set up the headset on their own without the knowledge of their parents. It will be mandatory for parents to create parent-managed accounts for their preteens.
Meta said that parents will have control over various things such as what apps and games their kids are downloading from the app store and block access to apps at any time. Parents will also be able to set screen time limits for their kids and monitor VR content by casting it onto their phones or TV screens.
The Meta Horizon profiles of these parent-managed accounts will be set to private by default along with other stuff like active status and current app usage. Also, Meta said it doesn't serve ads to this age group but if parents share the age of their kid, the company will use this information to provide "experiences" such as recommending age-appropriate apps. However, parents will be able to "delete their child’s account, including all of the data associated with it," it said.
Earlier this year, the US Federal Trade Commission accused Meta of violating a 2020 privacy order and the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act Rule (COPPA Rule). FTC alleged that the company "misled parents about their ability to control with whom their children communicated through its Messenger Kids app." The agency has prohibited Meta and its related entities from monetizing the data of children and teens under 18.
Meta said that all app listings will have an age rating provided by the independent agency IARC along with information on what data it collects and whether it has social features. The company is working with developers to bring more age-appropriate apps and games to the platform. It said that the social VR app Meta Horizon Worlds will not be available to preteens when their parent-managed accounts become available later this year. It still remains a 13+ app in the US and Canada, and 18+ in Europe.