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Meta Launches New Parental Controls for VR Headsets

22 March 2022
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Meta Launches New Parental Controls for VR Headsets

Meta is making virtual reality (VR) experiences safer for teenagers, with the launch of new tools for its Oculus headset.

VR and augmented reality (AR) are set to shape the metaverse – a network of 3D virtual worlds – in the coming years, and Meta, the owner of Facebook, admits it is difficult balancing innovation with safety for users.

That became more apparent recently after the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO) said it was important that tools such as VR, that are linked to the metaverse, are compatible with the “children’s code” in the UK.

Oculus, which is another Meta company, says it is now rolling out parental controls to ensure young people only access content that is appropriate for their age group.

“Providing age-appropriate and safe experiences for teens while also empowering them to explore in VR is a balancing act”, Oculus said in a new blog.

The new tools are extensive and will enable parents to prevent teenagers from opening specific VR apps.

Parents will be able to block access to downloads of apps within the Quest store too.

To bring these features together, Oculus is planning to launch a “Parent Dashboard” within its mobile app, which will link directly to a child’s account and oversee activity.

This intuitive dashboard will show all of the owned and downloaded apps, recent purchases, total time spent in VR apps, and friends’ lists.

Meta says the new tools will be part of a new “Family Center”.

The VR tools are set to roll out in the US this spring, ahead of a broader, global rollout later in the year.

And with VR quickly becoming a new digital marketing channel for brands, there are likely to be more measures that tackle security and privacy in the future.

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