What you need to know
- Meta will be introducing parental control settings for its Quest virtual reality headsets starting today through May.
- Settings include drawing to unlock the headset, lock specific apps, blocking teens from downloading apps based on rating, and a parental dashboard for the Oculus mobile app.
- Meta will also offer an education hub for parents that includes tutorials for these VR supervision tools in May.
Meta announced today it will bringing parental controls for its Quest virtual reality headsets over the next few months so parents can better control their teens' experience in VR.
In a blog post, the company said these initial controls were the beginning of a much larger plan for more customized settings and stressed that Quest headsets are only intended for people 13 years and older. The VR headsets had not contained any parental controls since launching in 2019.
Starting today, Quest users can change how to unlock their headsets by drawing a pattern instead of through a passcode. The company will be extending that feature to locking specific apps beginning in April, so parents can prevent their teens from apps and games that may not be age-appropriate.
Meta itself will be automatically blocking teens from downloading or purchasing IARC rated apps in the Quest Store not suitable for their age group in May, which is possible since a Facebook account is required for access and would know the user's age.
The company will be launching a Parent Dashboard for the Oculus mobile app in May, and will allow parents to link to their teen's accounts. Although, the linking process must be started by the teen, and both the teen and the parent have to agree to the link.
The dashboard allows parents to approve requests for download apps, view all apps owned, block apps, receive purchase notifications, view the teen's Oculus Friends list, see how much time their child is spending in VR, and block Link and Air Link from accessing PC content through the headset. Teens will be able to access the Parent dashboard, but only through a read-only view.
Meta also unveiled the Family Center today, a website that can educate parents on how to talk their kids about internet habits and set up controls for Meta's various services. The Family Center only supports Instagram right now, but will support VR tools in May. The company was heavily criticized after a whistleblower testimony last year revealed the company prioritized profits over the users' safety, specifically including teens on Instagram.
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Thomas Meyer fell in love with video games starting in the mid '90s with a NES, Super Mario Bros., Duck Hunt, and Jack Nicklaus' Greatest 18 Holes of Major Championship Golf. He hasn't stopped and is not planning to anytime soon. Freelance for Android Central and Windows Central.