Should I let my child get a Meta Quest 3 VR Headset?

My child recently asked me to get a Meta Quest 3 VR headset. We have a Nintendo Switch, but I honestly know nothing about this device. I see that there are some parental controls, but I don’t know how it compares with what we have on the Nintendo Switch.

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Welcome to the community Cindy!

The Meta Quest VR 3 headset was created by Meta, the parent company that owns Facebook, Instagram, and WhatsApp. Meta has a troubled history regarding parental controls, which remains true with this headset. Let me give you some advice and also explain how the experience could be different depending on your child’s age.

First, as you mentioned, the headset does have parental controls. If your child is between 10 and 13, you must create a child account (this is separate from a Facebook account). You will be able to directly manage this account from the Meta Quest mobile app.

If your child is 13 or over, they must have their own account. They can invite you as a parent to manage their activity on the device. This gives you some insight into most tech companies’ approach. They don’t seem to believe parents should have much control once the child reaches 13.

Apps

For all those under 18 using the device, apps are blocked if the rating is above their current age.

For children up to 13, you do have control over the apps they can install. A request is sent to you to request the download of any app.

For teens 13 and above, you can block any app you choose, but you do not get a download request from your child unless the rating for the app is above their current age.

Screen Time Limits

You can manage time limits up to age 13, but once your child reaches 13, there is no time limit capability.

Contacts & Communication

The inability to restrict communication for teens is one of my biggest concerns about this device.

There are greatly reduced communication capabilities for kids under 13, but this doesn’t cover everything. In some cases, games are able to include communication capabilities even for users under 13. Unless you research the games thoroughly, you have no idea what your children will encounter. Keep in mind that this can include photo and video sharing.

For teens using the device, you can only see their friend list–and this list is only the usernames of those accounts. You have no ability to block users, limit who they can follow or communicate with, or who they can invite (or be invited by). In short, your teens have to manage this entirely independently.

Conclusion

Because of these concerns, we cannot recommend that families get this device. The parental controls seem to be the bare minimum and do not meet our standards for devices used by preteens and teens.

If you choose to get this device, you will need to do homework on every app your child uses. Also, you will need to ensure you have had the discussions included in The Digital Parenting Guidebook to ensure your child knows what to do if they encounter objectionable content.