Meta just spent a lot of time and money on a study that says it’s safe for 10-year-olds to use the Quest for a few hours a day. There are plenty of parental controls, and providing your tech-savvy 10-year-old didn’t lie and say she was 13, they’re locked out of some social features, so it’s not exactly a free-for-all game, but it still has 10 years old and strapped into a VR headset. Seems a bit extreme.
I’m not one to tell others what they should or shouldn’t do, and that goes double when it comes to parenting. Sure, proper parenting is in the interest of society, but I’m not the boss, so all I hope is that parents use some sort of common sense.
But I know what I think and I think 10 year olds have no right to see life through a pair of glasses.
Android and relax
One of the web’s longest-running tech columns, Android & Chill is your Saturday discussion about Android, Google, and all things tech.
I’m not a fan of connected tech products for kids as a whole. I raised three kids who eventually ended up online in one way or another, but were ready to do it at different ages because they were different people. Any parent can tell you that there is no one size fits all when it comes to kids.
I know that putting Disney princesses or Monsters Inc. decals on a tablet will make your kids insist on having one, and many companies create software and media designed to appeal to kids, so it’s tough. If you have very young children, just know that it gets more difficult once other kids who may or may not be ready start bringing phones to school.
Products like Amazon’s Fire Kids tablets claim to be designed for kids and usually come with all sorts of parental control software that your child can easily get around after using it for a while. That’s what the internet does: it provides information on everything, including how to bypass parental controls or school network restrictions. Your kids are way smarter than they deserve.
The saving grace is that you can sit on the couch with your child while he or she plays games or watches videos on the tablet, and you should. It’s a great way to spend time together once the chores or homework are done and kids usually love it. This changes with virtual reality. VR is a personal experience and you can do anything inside your headset and no one else will have a clue what it is.
This is something parents and companies that make VR products will need to understand. I’m not arguing that children shouldn’t have access to a VR experience because it can be interesting and even educational. I just think it’s important that mom or dad always know what’s going on in that headset.
A simple solution is to link a child’s account to a parent’s, and an app on mom or dad’s phone could give a notification about what’s on the VR screen whenever it changes. Blocking access to Meta’s Horizon Worlds is fine because, like the internet in general, there will be creepy people who have no business interacting with children. Is not enough.
Meta previously thought that 13 was the minimum age for people (kids really are little people even though they’re also monsters sometimes) to use their services, but that was bad too. Not all 13-year-olds are ready to access the Internet without someone watching and supervising. This update brings some good changes, such as requiring parental consent for data analysis (just say no) and a promise to still delete any data Meta collects when a child’s account is deleted.
Still. I’m not here to tell you how to raise your kids and I don’t want to tell you how to raise your kids. If you think your child is ready for an Oculus Quest, get them one. They’ll love it and think you’re cool for buying one.
I’m here to tell Meta when they’re wrong, and allowing younger children to have an Oculus account without any means for a parent to actually see how a child is using it is a disaster. You are a billion dollar company that helped pioneer consumer VR. Do better.
#children #ready #Internet
Image Source : www.androidcentral.com