Right now three major features of the new Xbox 360 dashboard update - Facebook, Last.FM, and Twitter - are inaccessible to users under 18. Major Nelson says that will change weeks after the update launches.

Teens participating in the Xbox Live dashboard preview program have been irked by the fact that there was no way for them to access social networking site Facebook and music finder Last.FM. They couldn't even Twitter about it, as the update currently contains no parental controls governing those three applications - either you are over 17 and can access them, or you can't. Microsoft's Larry "Major Nelson" Hryb explains:

As some of you might be aware, those under the age of 18 are not able to access Twitter, Facebook and Last.fm in our public preview. I want to you let you know that this will remain the case when it launches to the world soon. We made this decision because as it stands now, parents aren't able to use Family Settings to customize which of these applications their children can access. In order to offer an age-appropriate environment for everyone, we decided to turn off these applications for those Gold members under the age of 18.

Being far past the ages of 13-17 but having spent a good five years as a member of that age range, I can imagine the frustration this must be causing. Worry not, my underage friends. Major Nelson reports that help is on the way.

As expected, this has been a hot topic with the preview users. We want to make sure everyone was aware, however, that the development team is working on an update that gives parents the choice of which social applications their children can access. This means that Xbox LIVE members between the ages of 13 and 17 will be able to use Facebook, Twitter and Last.fm as long as their parents approve. The team hope to roll this out several weeks after launch and I will update you on the exact date as it gets closer.

Now all you'll have to do is make sure your parents approve. My suggestion? Attempt to talk to them about it. They'll activate it immediately, just to make you leave them alone for five damn minutes.

Twitter, Facebook, Last.FM and Xbox 360 Family Settings [Major Nelson]