Facebook has rolled out Messenger Kids, a video chat and messaging app that helps children connect with friends and family in a fun, parent-controlled space.
Available to download from the Apple App and Google Play Stores, Messenger Kids has been designed for children between the ages of 6 to 12 years, with the app including two new features aimed at helping kids connect with their friends and family.
Helping to shape the Messenger Kids app, Facebook has worked closely with Youth Advisors over the years, made up of experts in online safety, child development and media. Ahead of its launch, Facebook also consulted with child safety advocates and educators across Africa to ensure that its providing a service that balances parental control with features that help kids learn how to connect responsibly online.
Messenger Kids is made for Kids but controlled by parents, the app is full of features for kids to connect with the people they love. Once their account is set up by a parent, kids can start a one-on-one or group video chat. The home screen shows them at a glance who they are connected to, and when those contacts are online.
In addition to video chat, kids can send photos, videos or text messages to their parent-approved friends and adult relatives, who will receive the messages via their regular Messenger app. The platform similarly contains a library of kid-appropriate and specially chosen GIFs, frames, stickers, masks and drawing tools to let them decorate content and express their personalities.
“We know that parents are turning to technology more than ever to help their kids connect with friends and family online. With privacy, security and parental control at the heart of the app, Messenger Kids provides a safe, fun space, controlled by parents to do exactly that,” Kojo Boakye, Facebook Public Policy Director, Africa said.
Safety expert Evelyn Kasina, Family IT Consultant, Eveminet, added: “It is our responsibility to ensure online safety for our children. The greatest sign of success is when our children display responsible independence during their online interaction. The launch of Facebook Messenger Kids is an amazing stride toward child online safety because our young children will enjoy and participate on social media on child developed platforms that have safety parameters to keep them safe.
Through the Parent Dashboard, parents can control and monitor their child’s activity enabling them to monitor recent contacts, chat history, and reported and blocked contacts, see a log of images and videos in chats, enable supervised friending: log out of devices remotely and download your child’s information.