Meta’s Horizon Worlds Opens to Young Teens in the US and Canada

Months later than previously rumored, Meta’s Horizon Worlds is opening its doors to younger teens. In the coming weeks, the company will make its metaverse space accessible to teens ages 13-17 in the US and Canada. Unsurprisingly, the company promises “robust” security measures and parental controls: it wants to make sure the experience is age-appropriate, and the gradual rollout will help it gauge how well those protections work.

Teens’ Horizon Worlds profiles will be private by default and will not automatically display locations or active statuses. They won’t see unknown adults on their “people you may know” lists. Age ratings prevent teens from creating or using adult content, and a “voice mode” distorts the voices of anyone not following them. These younger users will also receive safety tips while in VR.

Parents can use the Meta Quest app or Family Center (now available for Horizon Worlds) to control features like personal limits. They can also allow or block apps, track usage, and see who’s following whom. All users can stream their VR view to an external display, so a parent in the room can see what’s happening.

The strategy closely reflects Meta’s focus on teen safety on Facebook and Instagram. That won’t necessarily please everyone. Senators have urged Meta to keep teens away from Horizon Worlds for fear the company’s security measures may be inadequate. They have noted that Meta’s own research revealed harm to some teens and that other virtual spaces like VRChat are prone to predatory and toxic behavior.

However, there is a lot of pressure on Meta to expand. The social media giant has struggled to cross over into the metaverse and continues to lose billions investing in the Reality Labs unit behind Horizon Worlds and Quest headsets. A broader teen audience could boost Horizon’s viewership and stimulate the market for VR hardware.

Related Articles

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to top button