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Quest 2's Age Restriction: A Holiday Dilemma for Parents

Christmas Dilemma: Oculus Quest 2's Age Restriction Leaves Parents in a Bind

Christmas morning brought joy and excitement to many households, with the Oculus Quest 2 being a popular gift item this year. However, for parents who purchased the virtual reality headset for their children under 13, there was a surprise waiting for them.Due to Facebook's age restriction policy, children under 13 are not allowed to use Quest 2 or any other Oculus headset linked to a Facebook account. This leaves parents with two unappealing options: either hand over their own Facebook account credentials to their child or face the prospect of an unusable headset.The 13-year-old age restriction is a common practice among many online services and devices, and parents often circumvent it by creating accounts for their children under their own names. However, Facebook takes a stricter approach, proactively shutting down accounts that it discovers belong to users under 13.Facebook's stance on age verification is quite strict, and it has even gone as far as locking accounts and requesting users to submit government-issued identity documents to prove their age.  

Additionally, the company prohibits sharing accounts between multiple individuals, making it explicitly against the rules for parents to use their own Facebook accounts for their children to access Quest 2.While parents may be tempted to disregard these restrictions, there is a real risk of Facebook discovering the violation and locking the account, effectively rendering the expensive headset useless. Moreover, the potential exposure of a child's personal information through a parent's Facebook account is an additional concern.The situation is further complicated by the fact that the "Facebook account required" disclaimer is often buried in the fine print of product descriptions, leading many consumers to overlook it.

Even if they do notice the age restriction, parents may not realize that it is an enforced requirement that could render the headset unusable, rather than a mere recommendation.The 13-year-old age limit is primarily driven by concerns about the potential health risks of VR headset use for younger children. The U.S. Online Privacy Protection Act (COPPA) also plays a role, as it sets strict rules for online businesses that collect data from children under 13. To avoid potential COPPA violations, Facebook prefers to exclude users under 13 from its services altogether.While many Quest 2 games can be played offline without sending any data to or from the headset, the Facebook account requirement effectively imposes an age limit on the device. This leaves parents facing a difficult choice: either violate Facebook's terms of service or risk disappointing their children.

A possible solution to this dilemma would be for Facebook to introduce multi-user accounts for Quest 2, allowing parents to create supervised accounts for their children without compromising their own privacy settings. However, the company has not yet announced any plans to implement this feature.In the meantime, parents who have purchased Quest 2 for their children under 13 should carefully consider the implications of Facebook's age restriction policy. They may want to contact Facebook directly to inquire about potential workarounds or express their concerns about the current situation.

The article was written by Amit Caesar

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