Got a Meta Quest? You’ll have to re-enter your age.

Are you the proud owner of a Meta Quest? You’ll have to re-verify your age if you want to use it.

On Tuesday, Meta announced that it’s mandatory for Quest 2 and Quest 3 users to confirm their age by re-entering their birthday. In a blog post, Meta said that such an audit of user ages on its VR headsets “helps both us and developers provide the right experience, settings, and protections for teens and preteens.”

“We’re doing this to help ensure everyone using Meta Quest has access to age-appropriate tools, content and protections,” reads the post.

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Are Meta’s new teen safety features too little, too late?

Quest users will receive a prompt to log into their Meta account and enter their birthdate — something that the company says must be done within the next 30 days or your account will be temporarily blocked. Meta said there’s a possibility users may enter the wrong birthdate, but if you do, you can verify your age with an ID or credit card.

Once entered, Meta will suggest the right type of account the user should have based on their age: Adults (18+), Teens (13-17), or Preteens (10-12). Each of these account types has different settings, tiered by age in terms of restrictions and defaults.

Adult accounts have the least restrictions, of course. They can choose public or private profiles, and active status is visible to followers unless you switch it off.

Teen accounts have their profile set to private by default, and activity and status are hidden by default (teens can decide to share these as well as approve follower requests). Teen accounts also come with the parental supervision controls Meta launched in 2022. Of these, Mashable’s Chase DiBenedetto writes, “In the virtual reality world of Meta Quest, a realm of almost frighteningly varied possibilities, tools like these are an even more pressing concern. But the user-oriented tools still have their limits in a space where even adults can’t escape harassment, and beg us to ask how companies can address the damage already done.”

And Preteen accounts, which have the most restrictions, are also known as parent-managed accounts. Parents are given control over account set-up, can determine profile and activity settings, which are automatically set to private, and can determine which apps a user can download or access.

Coming under consistent fire for not adequately keeping young people safe on its platforms, Meta has needed to make moves to make its virtual spaces safer for teens and preteens — there’s now a whole Parent Guide for Quest, which accompanies Meta’s Family Center launched in 2022. In fact, the company reportedly really, really wants kids to use its platforms. However, Meta’s recently launched teen safety features feel slightly too little, too late.

Topics
Virtual Reality
Meta