Christmas Day has come, and the evidence suggests that Quest 2 was a hot gift item this year. Although it may have inspired cries of joy, it turns out that children under 13 are actually not allowed to use the headset, according to Facebook. It leaves parents in a difficult position whether they either hand over their own Facebook account or are stuck with a useless headset.
If you’re a parent who picked up Quest 2 for a child under the age of 13, you may have hoped to be this year’s holiday hero, but unfortunately when the box is opened and the headset is turned on, Facebook will fulfill those plans. This is due to the recent requirement that Quest 2 and other Oculus headsets be linked to a valid Facebook account, and the company does not allow Facebook accounts to be created by children under 1
The 13-year-old restriction is seen across many account services required to use different gadgets, but it is easily overridden by parents who can choose to use their own accounts to activate devices for their children, or just tell their children to fudge their age when signing up for their own account.
However, Facebook is quite unique because the company insists that the age of the account matches the user’s and will proactively close accounts if it finds out otherwise. It is very clear: “Creating an account with false information is a violation of our terms. This includes accounts registered on behalf of anyone under the age of 13. […] Please note that we will immediately delete the account of children under 13 who have been reported to us […]”
In some cases, the company has gone so far as to lock accounts and ask users to send photos of government-issued identification to confirm their name and age.
The company also prohibits “sharing of accounts between several people”, which makes it technically against the rules for parents to log on to the headset with their own account that the child can use. Although the company says it plans to eventually include multi-user support on Quest 2, each user will still require their own unique Facebook account (and must still be 13 years or older).
Of course, parents who consider it ok for their children to use the headset can probably skirt these rules, but the risk remains that Facebook finds out, locks the account and limits the functionality of a headset that may have cost between $ 300 and $ 400. Although the greater risk may be an inconsolable child who can no longer use his shiny new fixture.
And let’s not forget the requirement to give a toddler access to your Facebook account via the headset – which allows them to share screenshots, videos and livestreams of their VR activities to your Facebook community.
It is difficult to blame some parents who fall into this trap. While headsets product pages generally contain “Facebook account required” a place in the word, can anyone blame customers for not knowing that Facebook accounts are only for people 13 and older? Although they happened to spot “13 years and up” (which is not always included), parents should be expected to know that this is a enforced rule, which could render the headset unusable, rather than the manufacturer’s suggestion?
It is a common misconception that the 13-year-old restriction is due to unknown health risks for younger children who use VR headsets. The primary reason is due to the US Children’s Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA), which defines special rules for online companies that collect information about children under 13 years of age. Facebook, like many other companies, chooses not to allow children under the age of 13 to access their services instead of opening up to COPPA responsibilities. So even though there are many Quest 2 games that can be played completely offline without data being sent to or from the headset, the Facebook account imposes an age limit on Quest 2 by proxy.