Meta Lowers Minimum Age For Quest VR Headset From 13 to 10, But Is It a Good Idea?
Facebook's parent company Meta has lowered the minimum age for their VR headsets 'Quest' from 13 to 10, despite being repeatedly asked by lawmakers not to market the product to younger users.
Parents will be able to set up accounts for kids as young as 10 years old on Meta's 'Quest 2' and 'Quest 3' headsets starting in the latter half of this year, as per the company's announcement in a blogpost on June 16.
Preteens will only be able to set up an account and download apps to the device once they get it approved by their parents. Meta also said that it will use the kids' ages to provide "age-appropriate experiences" such as recommending suitable apps.
"There's a vast array of engaging and educational apps, games, and more across our platform the majority of which are rated for ages 10 and up," said Meta in the blog post.
Earlier this year, CNN reported that concerns were raised by two Democratic senators over the availability of the tech to teens aged 13 to 17. The lawmakers, in a letter, had urged Meta to suspend the proposed plan to offer Horizons Worlds, the company's flagship virtual reality app, to the said age group, suggesting that the tech could be harmful to their physical and mental health.
Despite the huge outcry, Meta forged ahead with the plan to allow teens as young as 13 in the States and also in Canada to use Horizons World, triggering more backlash from lawmakers and parents. Meta recently came up with their own set of arguments when it comes to VR and safety of children.
The Meta Quest 3
The third generation of Meta's VR headset named the Meta Quest 3 is officially here. In a video uploaded by Meta, the company announced the much-awaited follow-up to their Meta Quest 2. The Quest 3 will come with the latest generation processor, Qualcomm Snapdragon chipset which the company says will give the headset double the GPU processing power of its predecessor.
Is Lowering The Age Limit a Good Idea?
The debate on whether or not VR headsets are safe for kids has been on for quite some time now. Little to no scientific evidence is provided to back the claims of VR being bad for kids.
Meta recently provided a document citing dozens of studies that proves that VR is safe for kids. The documents deal with the following burning concerns: Headset weight on a child's head and neck; Increased effort needed to move in VR; Whether headsets affect mobility after use; Ocular and perceptual health; the fit; Reality Distinctions; Recommended daily limits; and how to supervise as parents.
Is Virtual Reality The Future?
Yes, the future of VR is looking pretty bright. VR can be used in many fields effectively.
VR In Medicine: VR can be a great training tool. VR can also be helpful when it comes to treating patients remotely.
VR In Social Media: VR can help achieve a more immersive experience. The idea is to be able to walk around in customized virtual worlds and interact with people in a new way. Facebook plans to make Horizon a safe place that will help people create "meaningful connections between people and also foster a stronger sense of community for everyone who joins the app," as per Bernard Marr & Co.
VR In Retail: VR can help customers make sound buying decisions. One can simply wear a VR headset and walk into a virtual furniture shop. IKEA's The Place App is an application imagined along these lines. The app allowed customers to see how the furniture will look in their space before they decide to spend their money.
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