Meta has announced a host of new tools and resources for parents, guardians and teens in VR as well as on Instagram.

The tech major will be introducing parental supervision tools for VR, rolling it out to all Quest headsets.

Parents and guardians will be able to access the Parent Dashboard. From there, they can approve purchases from apps blocked by default, block specific apps, view apps owned by their teens, and view screen time, among other actions. 

Parents and guardians can approve their teen’s download or purchase of an app that is blocked by default based on its IARC-rating. For this, teens aged over 13 can submit an “Ask to Buy” request, triggering a notification to their parent who can then approve or deny the request from the Oculus mobile app.

Parents and guardians can also “block specific apps inappropriate for their teen, thereby preventing them from launching. Apps that can be blocked include apps like web browsers and apps available on the Quest Store,” Meta explained in a blog post. 

They can view all of the apps that their teen owns and receive “Purchase Notifications,” alerting them of their purchases in VR. They can also view headset screen time from the Oculus mobile app as well as their teen’s list of Oculus Friends. Also, they can block Link and Air Link to prevent them from accessing content from their PC on their Quest headset. 

“For parents to link to their teen’s account, the teen must initiate the process, and both the parent and teen have to agree,” it further explained. 

The tech giant is also launching its new Parent education hub, including a guide to the VR parental supervision tools from ConnectSafely to help parents discuss virtual reality with their teens. 

“This is just a starting point, informed by careful collaboration with industry experts, and we’ll continue to grow and evolve our parental supervision tools over time,” it said.

Updates on Instagram

It is also expanding parental supervision features on Instagram. Parents and guardians can now send invitations to their teens to initiate supervision tools on Instagram. Previously, only teens could send invitations.

They can set specific times during the day or week when they would like to limit their teen’s use of Instagram and see more information when their teen reports an account or post, including who was reported, and the type of report.

For users who already have supervision set up on Instagram in the US, these updates are now available in addition to other tools. Starting this month, these tools will begin rolling out to other countries including the UK, Japan, Australia, Ireland, Canada, France and Germany, with plans to roll out globally before the end of the year. 

Managing screen time

On Instagram, teens will start to see new nudges to switch to different topics if they have been looking at the same type of content. 

“Teens in certain countries will see a notification that encourages them to switch to a different topic if they’re repeatedly looking at the same type of content on Explore. This nudge is designed to encourage teens to discover something new and excludes certain topics that may be associated with appearance comparison,” it explained.

“We designed this new feature because research suggests that nudges can be effective for helping people — especially teens — be more mindful of how they’re using social media in the moment,” it added. 

It will also launch new reminders for teens soon to turn on Take a Break when they’ve been scrolling in Reels for a period of time. 

“The reminders will feature Reels developed by young creators like @foodwithsoy, @abraxaxs and @mayasideas who share their own tips for taking a break and why it’s a good idea to get off social media for a bit,” it said. 

These are being tested in the US, UK, Ireland, Canada, Australia and New Zealand now, and they’ll launch in those and additional countries later this summer.