VR now has a problem with the baby. As more and more children use such headsetsmore and more children are entering VR social platforms and chat rooms where almost they currently exist. Meanwhile, In is becoming a growing problem. The new HTC Vive Guardian feature announced today looks like a small step in the right direction: restricting access to applications while using the headset.
More importantly, this is a step away from HTC admitting that children will use VR even when it is not recommended for them (like Meta and others, HTC suggests VR only for those over 13) and safety settings must exist . Shen Ye, Global Head of Hardware Products at HTC, told topwatchbest that parents are already allowing their kids to use VR: “We know it’s inevitable. We still want to be sure there are limitations. “
Meta, despite having a VR headset that is increasingly used by children, has not introduced any special safety features for its VR headsets apart from being able to monitor the content seen in VR on a connected nearby phone. Mark Zuckerberg told topwatchbest last year that he doesn’t seein the near future.
Vive Guardian has evolved from a kiosk mode created by HTC for its business operationsVR headset when used in public for things like demos. Apps can be blocked by disappearing from access and PIN codes configured to control unwanted purchases or access to the app. There is also streaming / monitoring VR content to a connected phone, as is already done by Meta’s Oculus Quest 2, but HTC will also enable a mode where individual content items such as videos can also be streamed to the headset on demand.
While Guardian doesn’t appear to allow the creation of real children’s accounts, Ye says the feature is effectively working as a profile. The next step must be to enable clearer security settings in open social media apps likeVRChat, Rec Room and Meta’s . While HTC doesn’t provide this level of security in the app, HTC’s Shen Ye says the company is making better developer guidelines for how to build and display apps, and admits that Vive Guardian is just the beginning of better security measures: the first step for us, making sure that we can create a safe metaverse environment for children ”.
Vive Guardian requires some Android phones to function, especially Vive VR devices. That’s a downside, as HTC has largely moved away from consumer VR headsets until recently. This feature will work on Vive Focus and Focus Plus (previous HTC Standalone VR Headsets), aa more experimental pair of VR glasses connected to an HTC phone, launched late last year.
But let’s hope that HTC’s security moves will soon be the start of similar steps from other companies. HTC’s move to keep children safe in virtual reality seems like a small but necessary step. When will the Meta do its job?