Meta, the company behind Horizon Worlds, a virtual reality app, plans to allow teenagers aged 13 and above in the US and Canada to use it, despite concerns expressed by lawmakers and NGOs about its potential negative effects on their mental health. Horizon Worlds is an important aspect of CEO Mark Zuckerberg’s vision for the next generation of the internet, which enables people to socialize in virtual spaces. Meta claims that it has collaborated with parents and experts to create safer measures, but critics argue that it still poses privacy risks, false advertising, and bullying. The company says it will make young users’ profiles and activities less visible to others and will classify virtual spaces according to the age group for which they are intended.

NGOs have voiced concerns over the risks associated with Meta’s VR apps, such as the collection of biometric data and other information, misleading ads, and possible anxiety and depression. The US Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is investigating the impact of social media on young people’s mental health and is considering hiring psychologists. FTC commissioner Alvaro Bedoya acknowledges that certain social media can harm some teenagers and children.