Zuckerberg’s Meta Plans VR Move Into Schools

Social media giant Meta wants to bring Quest virtual reality (VR) headsets into classrooms for students as young as 13. Meta President of Global Affairs Nick Clegg believes VR could be transformative for education in exciting ways. But given Meta’s clear political activism, it is hard to imagine there not being pushback against the company gaining access to America’s children in their schools.

Clegg suggests VR would make learning more interesting and fun. Students could be transported to the times and places they are studying rather than just reading about them in textbooks.

“If you’re teaching a bunch of kids about ancient Rome, just imagine what fun it is to walk with the whole class through the streets of ancient Rome together,” said Clegg. Meta plans to place VR equipment in 15 U.S. universities to help teach various skills.

However VR in classrooms comes with potential dangers. The British National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children reported pedophiles often use VR to lure and exploit kids.

A 2021 scientific paper reviewing 85 studies concluded VR could make children susceptible to obesity and sleep disorders. Childhood obesity rates are already rising.

Critics argue VR in classrooms would decrease face-to-face interaction. Many kids already have high daily screen time from TVs, iPads, and phones which could damage their eyesight.

Parental consent is another issue as some parents may not want their children exposed to VR. This raises concerns about how those students would learn and share the same experiences as classmates.

Children may also struggle to differentiate real situations from virtual ones. “Children, at a young age, have difficulty distinguishing reality from fiction or fantasy,” said Michael Madary, a postdoctoral research assistant at the University of Mainz in Germany. “You could imagine putting them in VR—that inability to distinguish could be exaggerated.”