Meta is launching new parental supervision tools for its Quest VR headset, along with new educational resources to help parents protect their children in a more immersive virtual environment.
The move comes as the acceptance of virtual reality continues to rise, and with reports already indicating that some users are being sexually harassed and even assaulted through their digital avatars, Meta must get ahead of these concerns before they have much more significant impacts.
Meta’s new parental control panel inside the Quest headset, which originally debuted in March, will allow parents to approve their children’s downloads and purchases, block specific apps that may be inappropriate, view children’s screen time headphones, monitor the connections of your children’s friends and more.
Teen users will need to initiate the parental link to their account, making sure they are aware of the process.
That could give parents more peace of mind, and with Meta anticipating that eventually more and more people will spend more and more time inside their VR environments, there certainly needs to be a level of protection for younger users (note: users must be over 13 to create a Quest account, which probably not all users meet, but that’s the minimum age threshold set by Meta)
In addition to this, Meta will also launch a new parent education hub for Meta Quest, which will include guides to its VR parent monitoring tools and other resources.
As Meta looks toward the metaverse and a more immersive take on online engagement, there are also significant safety concerns to be aware of for young users, especially given the harm we’re already seeing as a result of social media use. .
If teens are already experiencing mental shocks as a result of current online engagement, you can only imagine this will be much worse within completely closed virtual spaces, where it can seem like there is no escape.
The hope is that Meta gets ahead of himself before he becomes a bigger concern, something he didn’t do in his initial “move fast and break stuff” era. In fact, throughout its history, Meta has shown little concern for the impacts its apps may cause, until well after the fact (and after much outside criticism), which doesn’t inspire much confidence in its approach to the Metaverse. .
Will Meta incorporate the lessons it learned from the early stage of social networking and connecting online at a foundational level of its Metaverse?
Early updates like this are a positive sign that, along with voice controls and personal limits in VR, should help provide more protection.
But misuse of these more immersive environments will likely occur in ways we haven’t yet considered. And on that note, I hope Meta doesn’t move too quickly, or things could break even more than ever.