Meta is getting serious about not letting kids play in VR

Playing disc golf in Rec Room
(Image credit: Rec Room)

What you need to know

  • Meta will be enforcing its age 13+ policy starting November 14, 2022.
  • Apps that allow kids to make child-specific accounts after Nov 14 will be banned from the Quest app store.
  • Meta has always maintained that its VR headsets are for ages 13+ but has never enforced this policy and it's not immediately clear how they will.

Update 11/2 1:47 pm: Added Meta statement and clarified that this applies to apps that allow children to make accounts.

If you've ever played a VR game online, it's entirely likely that you've come across kids playing in VR. Meta and other VR companies have always stated that VR is for people ages 13 and up but, until now, this policy has never been widely enforced.

That all looks to change starting November 14, 2022, when Meta is said to begin strictly enforcing guidelines for players under 13 years of age. Rec Room outlines what these changes will mean for its platform as the company will have to remove Junior Accounts from Meta headsets later this month. Junior Accounts were specifically created for parents of Rec Room users so that their kids could have an online account that's safer and more content restrictive.

Kids who want to continue playing Rec Room in VR will have to officially move over to the PC platform. Rec Room says that Junior Accounts will continue to exist on all other platforms the game is playable on, including Steam, consoles, and mobile versions.

Meta has issued this statement:

“We’ve never allowed people under the age of 13 to use our VR platform, so we requested that Rec Room remove access to Meta Quest devices from their Junior Accounts. We support Rec Room and want to ensure their app meets our terms of service.”

-a Meta spokesperson

Meta says that its goal is to stop apps from offering accounts to people under the age of 13 since that's a violation of the Meta platform, as a whole. For note, you also need to be 13 and older if you want a Facebook or Instagram account, which are also Meta-owned services. It's not likely that these new rules will affect too many of the best Quest 2 games that are clearly designed with a younger age group in mind since most of those games don't ask young players to create accounts.

As we understand it right now, Meta will outright remove apps from the Quest store if they continue to infringe on Meta's age restriction rules after November 14.

Nicholas Sutrich
Senior Content Producer — Smartphones & VR
Nick started with DOS and NES and uses those fond memories of floppy disks and cartridges to fuel his opinions on modern tech. Whether it's VR, smart home gadgets, or something else that beeps and boops, he's been writing about it since 2011. Reach him on Twitter or Instagram @Gwanatu