Meta expands parental control tools for Instagram and in VR

Back in December last year, Meta announced it will bring new parental controls to its social network products. The first set of those parental control tools launched back in March, 2022, allowing parents to view how much time their teens spend on the social network, set time limits, and be notified when their teen reported someone.Today, Meta has announced on its blog that the company is releasing the second batch of parental control tools, this time both for Instagram and in VR. Instagram already has a solid slew of options in the Parent Dashboard, but the new features will allow parents to:

  • Send invitations to their teens to initiate supervision tools. Initially, only teens could send invitations.
  • Set specific times during the day or week when they would like to limit their teen’s use of Instagram.
  • See more information when their teen reports an account or post, including who was reported, and the type of report.

Furthermore, there are new options for Quest VR inside the Parent Dashboard. Parents and guardians 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 parents.
  • The parent can then approve or deny the request from the Oculus mobile app.
  • 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.
  • View all of the apps that their teen owns.
  • Receive “Purchase Notifications,” alerting them when their teen makes a purchase in VR.
  • View headset screen time from the Oculus mobile app, so they’ll know how much time their teen is spending in VR.
  • View their teen’s list of Oculus Friends.
  • Block Link and Air Link to prevent their teen from accessing content from their PC on their Quest headset.

It’s worth noting that in order for parents to gain control of their little ones, they have to link both accounts together – a process that requires approval from both the parent and the teen. We see a lot of potential for tension at home with these new features but at the end of the day, it can save our kids from a lot of trouble, so it might be worth it. It’s down to negotiation skills and positive reinforcement.

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