The article “Bought your kid a VR headset for Christmas? You might end up regretting it” written by Ryan Browne from CNBC details the downsides of children using Meta’s Oculus Virtual Reality headsets. These headsets pose a number of risks to its users such as subjecting them to 18+ content as the Oculus does not come with the option to block R-rated content as well as other content that can be harmful to children. Moreover, this article also explains that children may also be subjected to child predators using Oculus pray on victims as well as racism and pornography. Although Meta has said it will invest $50 million into global research to ensure that the Metaverse products are used responsibly, this does not change the fact that there are threats as of now that are not close to being mitigated.
Although this technology is highly targeted towards children, it lacks the barriers required to keep one of its largest audiences safe. Speaking from experience, I have a niece and nephew ages 12 and 9 respectively, who got an Oculus for Christmas and after having done further research on it, I would not feel comfortable with kids of my own using it after learning of the lack of parental controls on this website. Furthermore, there has also been research about how VR can be damaging to the developing eyes of children and can also lead to children having a more individual and isolated experience, even more so than traditional forms of gaming. From a business standpoint, the VR market is very niche and exclusive when compared to other forms of gaming and is known to be very expensive to create content as well as for users to purchase it. All in all, I believe that it is a very intriguing and exciting technology and form of entertainment, but there are strides that need to be made in order for this software to be appropriate for children and for everyone else for that matter.