Meta announced it’s bringing some new parental tools to Quest headsets in the next few months which are aimed at giving parents more control over what their teens see and do in VR.
Meta’s VR headsets, which are only intended for kids 13 and over, lack a number of parental controls that you might find on traditional consoles such as PS5 or Xbox. Now the company says it’s bringing a number of new platform-level tools to its Quest platform soon so parents will know precisely what their kid are up to in VR.
Meta says that starting in April it will be expanding its headset pattern unlock system on Quest to go beyond the current one-and-done method it currently uses for headset unlocks. Soon parents will be able to put a pattern unlock on specific apps, something that will allow for tighter control on precisely what teens can access.
A month later, Meta will be introducing to teen accounts an automatic block on downloading or purchasing IARC rated age-inappropriate apps in the Quest Store. This is slated to come alongside a new suite of parental supervision tools, which Meta says will include the ability to allow apps through on a case-by-case basis. Teens will also be able to link a parent to their account so they can directly send and receive override requests for individual apps.
It seems Meta has thought of nearly everything too. In the near future, parents will also be able to block Link and Air Link to thwart teens from bypassing content locks by using Quest to play PC VR content through Steam or the Rift Store.
“Our initial suite of parental supervision tools, which include a Parent Dashboard accessible from the Oculus mobile app, will allow parents to link to their teen’s account,” Meta says in a blog post. “The process is initiated by the teen, and both the parent and teen have to agree to the experience. This is just a starting point, informed by careful collaboration with industry experts, and we’ll continue to grow and evolve our parental supervision tools over time.”
This comes on the back of some fairly unflattering news pieces to hit the mainstream lately, such as the BBC’s piece in late February claiming a Metaverse app allows kids into virtual strip clubs, which has no doubt spurred the company to make good on its commitment to providing a safe and welcoming metaverse for all of its users.
Here’s a list of upcoming tools to expect in the coming months:
- The parent will be able to approve their teen’s download or purchase of an app that is blocked by default based on its IARC-rating
- Teens 13+ can submit an “Ask to Buy” request, which triggers a notification to their parent
- The parent can then approve or deny the request from the Oculus mobile app
- The parent will be able to block specific apps that may be inappropriate for their teen which will prevent the teen from launching those apps. Apps that can be blocked include apps like web browsers and apps available on the Quest Store
- The parent will be able to view all of the apps that their teen owns
- The parent will be able to receive “Purchase Notifications,” alerting them when their teen makes a purchase in VR
- The parent will be able to view headset screen time from the Oculus mobile app, so they’ll know how much time their teen is spending in VR
- The parent will be able to view their teen’s list of Oculus Friends
- The parent will be able to block Link and Air Link, which will prevent their teen from accessing content from their PC on their Quest headset
- Teens with linked accounts will be able to see a read-only view of the Parent Dashboard from the Oculus mobile app.