Allowing kids into the world of social is a tricky thing. Most social platforms only allow accounts for children aged 13 or older. Although this limitation is set by the US government, many parents allow their children accounts prior to the age of 13. More children these days have access to digital devices. As their friends gain access to social accounts too early, they beg their parents to allow it as well.
Facebook launches Messenger Kids
Today, Facebook launched a way for kids to communicate with family members and friends. The app, simply called Messenger Kids has stiff parental controls to help parents feel at ease in allowing their children to use the platform. Messenger Kids is compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA).
The application is ad-free, and there are no in-app purchases. The app is currently only available on iOS devices within the US, but the company promises Android will be available in the coming months.
- Download: Find Messenger Kids in the app store on your child’s iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone (Android coming soon).
- Authenticate: Next, authenticate your child’s device using your own Facebook username and password. This will not create a Facebook account for your child or give them access to your Facebook account.
- Create an account: Provide your child’s name to create their account. Hand over the device to the child so they can start chatting with the family and friends you approve.
- Add contacts: Go to the Messenger Kids parental controls panel in your main Facebook app. To get there, click on “More” on the bottom right corner in your main Facebook app. Click “Messenger Kids” in the Explore section, and start adding approved contacts.
Within the application kids can video chat, send photos, videos or text messages only to the parent-approved contacts. You do not have to download Messenger Kids to use the application. The messages from the kid’s application appear in the contact’s regular Facebook Messenger. For some added fun, Facebook has added a library of kid-appropriate and specially chosen GIFs, frames, stickers, masks and drawing tools that let the children decorate content and express their personalities.
Even though the application is not available on Android yet, the possibilities of this application are exciting! For years I have wanted something like a simple email platform kids can use to communicate with family members. This makes so much more sense though, since it’s simple to use, and is on a platform that many are already using. I can’t wait until it hits Android so we can give it a try!