Meta will soon let kids aged 10 to 12 interact with others in VR with their parents’ approval

Meta announced on Wednesday that users aged 10 to 12 will soon be able to interact with others in VR if they have their parents’ approval to do so. Up until now, children were not able to chat or interact with other users on Quest.

In an upcoming update, Meta is adding the ability for parents to individually add approved contacts that their child can chat with or call, and send or accept invites to join them in parent-approved VR experiences.

By opening up its VR experiences to children, Meta is hoping younger users will familiarize themselves with the technology, which could make them more likely to use it as they age. It could also help Meta take on other companies like Roblox and Microsoft’s Minecraft, both of which are popular among young users.

Meta explains that users will only become approved contacts once a parent adds them. Parents can manage approved contacts by adding them to their child’s Following and Followers list. Children can request a follower to become an approved contact, and parents have the option to delete an approved contact at any time.

Last year, Meta lowered the recommended age for using its Quest headset from 13 to 10. The company then launched parent-managed accounts that give users between the ages of 10 to 12 access to age-appropriate VR experiences on Quest.

VR is a relatively newer technology and risks around its use are still somewhat unknown, which has promoted child safety concerns from parents, rights groups, and researchers.

Meta’s decision to bring social features to children’s accounts on Quest comes as Congress is putting increased pressure on social media companies like Meta, TikTok, and Snapchat to protect children on their platforms.

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