Meta, the company behind the virtual reality app Horizon Worlds, will now allow teenagers aged 13 and above in the US and Canada to use the app, despite concerns about the negative impact on their mental health. Horizon Worlds is part of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for the future of the internet, where users can interact in virtual spaces. Meta claims to have put safety controls in place, but critics say young users are still at risk of privacy breaches, unfair marketing, and bullying. To address these issues, Meta will make teenage users’ profiles less visible to other users and give content ratings to mature virtual spaces.

NGOs have expressed worries about Meta’s VR programs, including the collection of data, misleading ads, and harassment. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is also looking into social media’s effect on teen mental health and hiring psychologists to address these issues. An FTC commissioner has acknowledged that certain social media apps can harm some teens and children.