Facebook launches a version of Messenger Kids app

Dec 05, 2017 | Blog

“More fun for kids, more control for parents”

In order to join Facebook or its free chat app Messenger, user needs to be at least 13 years old. But today, the most popular social network has announced a version of Messenger for younger users. This version is designed specifically for kids younger than 13 and it’s tied up to new account separate from regular Facebook or Messenger accounts. The main focus on this is to neutralize children predator threats that is sadly already a common thing. So how does this work?

Messenger Kids is a simplified but locked down version of the today’s messaging app. Before use, the app needs parental approval. Facebook also announced that it will not contain any advertisements or in-app purchases. The new app will let kid’s text and video chat with their family and friends. But because many kids don’t have phones, parents will be able to sign up their children with their phone numbers, using the child’s first and last name. It’s mainly designed for tablet or iPod Touch, and for now it is only available in the US on Apple’s iOS. However it’s coming soon to Google Android and Amazon Kindle devices. If two children want to be friends on Messenger Kids, that friendship has to be approved by parents for each child. Parents also have to be friends on Facebook for their children to be contacts on Messenger Kids. Once confirmed to be safe, friends can do live video chat and send pictures and text to each other. There will also be “a library” of appropriate and specifically chosen stickers, GIFs, masks, drawing tools and other, which will let them decorate content and express their personalities.

The app will also include filters and lenses like those for Snapchat and Instagram, that let user add digital graphics to their pictures or videos, like sunglasses for example or dog ears. Also a partnership with the World Wildlife Fund shows kids facts about animals. Kids are able to report problems or abuse, which will cause their parents to be alerted. Unfortunately the app can’t scan shared links and URLs, but Facebook is looking into that for future updates. It is almost impossible to stop your kids using social networks, so you might as well do what you can to make sure that they are safe and monitored.