Since the dawn of the internet, virtual spaces in general have been anything but kid-friendly. After all, it’s estimated that 34 percent of internet users have experienced unwanted exposure to pornographic content through ads, pop-up ads, misdirected links, or emails.
Even though the VR industry is still in its early stages, it already has a huge issue with inappropriate content and even more inappropriate user behavior. For example, a recent investigation of VRChat, a popular online virtual world platform, has revealed that rampant child grooming and other safety issues are taking place in virtual spaces frequented by minors.
To tackle this growing issue early on, Meta has recently introduced VR parental supervision tools on Quest, including a Parent Dashboard accessible from the Oculus mobile app.
From the dashboard, parents will be able to approve their child’s download or purchase, block specific apps, view all installed apps, receive purchase notification alerts, analyze headset screen time, see who their child is friends with, block Link and Air Link, and more.
The Parent Dashboard will become available in May 2022. When it does, Meta will start automatically blocking teens 13+ from downloading or purchasing apps rated age-inappropriate by the International Age Rating Coalition.
But before that happens, Meta will expand the functionality of the unlock pattern feature on Quest headsets by introducing the ability for people to use the unlock pattern to lock specific apps directly from VR, allowing parents to prevent their kids from accessing games and experiences they feel aren’t age-appropriate.
To deliver the best suite of parental supervision tools possible, Meta is working with industry experts Larry Magid at Connect Safely, Dr. Michael Rich at Digital Wellness Lab, Janice Richardson at Insight SA, and Jutta Kroll at Stiftung Digitale Chancen.