Facebook Messenger Kids app is a new video chat and messaging app, from Facebook, that’s built for kids ages 9-11 and designed to give parents more control.
What is Facebook Messenger Kids App?
- Facebook Messenger Kids is a video chat and messaging app that’s built for kids; designed to give parents more control
- Similar to Snapchat, users can add filters, stickers, text, and doodles to their video messages
- Parents control the contact list on Messenger Kids
- Whenever kids receive a friend request, that request is sent to their parents to either approve or deny
- Users don’t need a phone number to use Messenger Kids
- Messages can’t be hidden and don’t disappear (so parents can easily monitor their student’s messaging activity)
- Unlike many free video messaging apps, Messenger Kids doesn’t have any ads or in-app purchases
Why should parents care?
- Students don’t need a phone number to create a Messenger Kids account
- Creating a Messenger Kids account doesn’t create a Facebook account for your student
- Parents manage their student’s Messenger Kids account through their personal Facebook account
- Students can report or block contacts and report inappropriate content. If a student submits a report, their parent or guardian will be notified
- Between the parental controls and all of the camera features being kid-friendly, Messenger Kids can be a starting point for a student’s first social media account (though SmartSocial.com believes parents should keep their kids OFF social media as long as they can)
- Students aren’t searchable within Messenger Kids or Facebook
- Children will not have access to their parent’s Facebook account through Messenger Kids
- Facebook worked with parents, a dozen experts, and more than 250 online safety organizations to develop Messenger Kids
Messenger Kids in the News
Facebook will closely monitor the content shared on Messenger Kids to prevent any users from sharing sexual or violent content, with a support team in place to respond quickly to anything flagged as inappropriate by children or parents. –Fortune
Messenger Kids is independent of the Facebook and Messenger apps, and is compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act. –TIME
What parents say about Messenger Kids
Love the app for the ability to manage contacts for kids! –Parent
Way too easy for children to sign up without parents’ knowledge. Kids just have to setup a fake adult profile then give permission using this to sign up for this app. Kids are much smarter than you give them credit for. That also means predators can do the same process to try to contact unsuspecting kids. –Parent
Source: iTunes App Store
What can parents do?
- Set screen time guidelines and discuss them with your children before giving them access to a device or social media account
- Encourage your student to use Messenger Kids to safely communicate with friends and family
- Ensure that your children know who they should and should not be talking to online, even if they’re using apps that require parents to approve their contacts
- Remind your student that every social post should be positive since it can be screenshot and shared
- When you’re ready for your teen to have access to messaging apps, check out our Parent App Guide page and encourage your student to use the messaging apps in our Green Zone
- Consider joining Parent University to get videos you can watch WITH your kids so they will learn how to be safe and smart online