Meta to lower the age limit for VR social experiences

With Meta's new capabilities allowing 10-12 year olds to engage in chats and calls, parents will need to approve each individual contact for young users, ensuring a monitored environment for their interactions in VR.

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Meta has announced plans to introduce virtual reality (VR) capabilities that will allow 10-12-year-olds to engage in chats and calls, offering a new avenue for young users to connect. 

According to Meta, “When we announced Meta Horizon OS, we described the Horizon social layer for people 13+, which includes experiences like chat, calls, and the ability to join others in experiences. Connecting with friends is part of what makes MR and VR great, and we’re excited to give preteens the option to enjoy age-appropriate, social experiences, managed by their parents.” 

Parents will need to approve each individual contact for young users, ensuring a safe and monitored environment for their interactions in VR.

Meta VR teens

Meta has extended its existing parental supervision tools, initially designed for teens aged 13-17, to include younger users, along with enhanced age verification processes for added security measures.

Despite these advancements, the decision to introduce VR chats and calls for 10-12-year-olds poses concerns. Current research shows the detrimental effects of social media on younger demographics, including negative impacts on development and mental health. Reflecting on this, health professionals increasingly argue against early social media exposure, advocating for stricter age restrictions to mitigate such risks.

Last month, Governor Kathy Hochul of New York signed the “Stop Addictive Feeds Exploitation (SAFE) for Kids” act, aimed at prohibiting social media platforms from offering algorithm-driven feeds to users under 18. Similarly, Florida has proposed legislation requiring parental consent for 14 and 15-year-olds to use social media, while Maryland seeks to expand protections for young users.

Additionally, these regulatory efforts respond to mounting evidence linking social media use among teens to various mental health issues, including negative comparisons and bullying with the introduction of VR experiences expected to amplify these concerns further.

AR/VR experience Meta VR Child Safety