In the ongoing crusade to make the internet a safer place for children, Facebook‘s throwing their hat in the ring with a brand new app that’s designed to make sure your kids can easily and safely communicate with their friends.
It’s called Messenger Kids and its goal is to put control back in the hands of the parents.
There are a few key highlight features in the Messenger Kids app. The first is that your kid does not need a Facebook account to create a Messenger Kids account and start chatting. They also don’t need a data connection because it will work over WiFi.
To set up an account for your kid, the parent must first download and install the Messenger Kids app on your child’s device. Then, parents will be required to authenticate their child’s device using their own Facebook account’s username and password. Keep in mind this won’t create a new Facebook account for the child nor will it give the child access to the parent’s Facebook account.
Finally, give your child’s account a name and you’re good to go. From there, the Messenger Kids app will allow the parent to control who the child gets to talk to on the normal Facebook app. When your child wants to chat with someone, parents will get a prompt on their Facebook app in which they will have to approve or decline the request.
With the Messenger Kids app, children will be able to start group or personal video chats, send photos and text messages to their pre-approved contacts list. There are even kid-friendly masks, GIFs, emojis, and sound effects to add a little flavour to the conversation.
Facebook says they’ve worked with thousands of parents and associations like the National PTA and parenting experts to develop this app. The Messenger Kids app is also ad-free, free to download without in-app purchases, and is compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA). All your child’s information is also not used for any kind of ads.
For now, Messenger Kids is only available in the US and is compatible with iPhones, iPods and iPads. It will be coming to the Amazon App Store and Google Play Store in the coming months but there’s no news on when it will make it out of the States. For more information, check out messengerkids.com.