Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, plans to lower the recommended age for using its Quest headset to 10 from 13, the company said in a blog post on Friday, a move that could set off new privacy and safety concerns with parents and global watchdogs.
The company is discussing its plans with regulators, two people with knowledge of Meta’s conversations said, and is trying to assuage immediate concerns over whether younger children using the headset could be subject to greater risk.
Meta said it would require a preteen’s parental approval to set up an account, and that young users would only see apps and content rated for the preteen age group. The Quest headset allows people to enter the so-called metaverse, an immersive online world, and to play virtual reality games and do other tasks.
Over the past year, Meta has slowly moved the age restrictions for its virtual reality apps lower to reach younger audiences. In April, the company said it would allow people under 18 to use Horizon Worlds, its virtual reality-based social network, which appears to have many young users. Horizon Worlds will remain restricted to users 13 and older, as reported earlier by The Verge.