Zuckerberg’s VR Ambitions Targeting Kids And Schools

Mark Zuckerberg’s social media company Meta, the owner of Facebook and Instagram, announced in a blog post on Friday that it plans to lower the recommended age for its Quest VR headsets from 13 to 10.

Meanwhile, the company is moving forward with plans to introduce its products into school classrooms in a pivot that could leave the tech giant in hot water with parents and global watchdog groups concerned about the privacy and safety of children online.

“Starting later this year, parents will be able to set up parent-managed Meta accounts for Meta Quest 2 and 3 for their children ages 10 – 12,” the company explained in the press release on Friday. “With new parent-managed Meta accounts, we’re making it easier for parents to create and manage their family’s accounts on one device.”

Although Meta will not show advertisements to this age group, the company admits that it will collect data on their usage. The company and anyone it sells users’ data to can use that information collected when they were 10 to manipulate them to buy products, follow prevailing ideologies and do the bidding of Meta’s corporate sponsors for the rest of their lives.

“Protecting preteens’ data: We will use information we collect about 10-, 11-, and 12-year-olds through our Meta Quest products to deliver an age-appropriate experience,” the press release said.

The mainstream media — which in 2020 was able to get all of America to stop saying “virtual reality” and call simulated 3D environments with headsets “metaverses,” practically overnight — is dutifully pushing Meta headsets and applications for America’s schools.

A recent puff piece on CNN paints an enticing picture: “Imagine hopping on a school bus and being transported to an immersive, educational tour of the inside of the human body,” the CNN article said. “This is the kind of experience that Meta hopes to enable for students, digitally, through its Quest virtual reality headsets.”

But the company that wants to get into your children’s classrooms recently had to answer to Congress for endangering the safety and welfare of minors using its giant social media platforms. Meta’s plans may put even more young people at risk of exploitation online.