Facebook has launched a new version of Messenger for kids.
Appropriately called Messenger Kids, it’s a new messaging app designed specifically for kids between the ages of six and 12. It does not require a Facebook account, which makes sense, considering US federal law says children under the age of 13 can’t have a Facebook account. Anyway, here’s what you need to know about it.
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What is Facebook Messenger Kids?
Facebook spoke to “thousands of parents”, as well as associations like the National PTA and various parenting experts, and it found a need for a children’s messaging app with parental controls. Enter: Messenger Kids.
Facebook described the standalone app as an easier way for children to “safely video chat and message with family and friends when they can’t be together in person”. At launch, kids can use it on a iPad or iPhone in order to video chat with a grandparent or message a cousin or send a decorated photo to a friend.
The app itself is controlled through a parent’s Facebook account.
How does Facebook Messenger Kids work?
Messenger Kids is full of features just for kids.
They can start a one-on-one or group video chat with parent-approved contacts -- directly from the home screen. They’ll be able to see when their contacts are online, and then they can send them photos, videos, or text messages. Kids can also access a library of child-appropriate GIFs, frames, stickers, masks, and drawing tools.
Adult friends and relatives will receive their decorated messages via the regular Facebook Messenger app.
How do you set up Facebook Messenger Kids?
First, download the Messenger Kids app from the Apple App Store.
Then, authenticate your child’s iOS device using your own Facebook username and password. Once that’s done, you’ll need to create a Messenger Kids account for your child (all you need to do is provide their name). At that point, your child’s device can be handed back to them so that they can start using Messenger Kids.
Does your kid need a Facebook account?
No. Your child does not need a Facebook account, or even a regular Facebook Messenger account, though you will need to create a Messenger Kids account for your child, which only requires their name.
How do the parental controls work?
To access the parental controls panel for Messenger Kids, go to the main Facebook app on your device, then click on “More” on the bottom right corner, followed by “Messenger Kids” in the Explore section. From there, you will see all the available controls, such as the ability to add people to your child’s approved contact list.
Other parental controls include account creation, blocking, reporting, and account deletion.
Does Facebook Messenger Kids have adverts?
No. There are no adverts in Messenger Kids. Facebook also said your child’s information won’t be used for adverts.
Is Facebook Messenger Kids free?
Messenger Kids is free and there are no in-app purchases.
Where is Facebook Messenger Kids available?
Facebook has launched preview of Messenger Kids.
It’s an early version of the app with limited availability. Right now, it is only available in the US on the Apple App Store. It will be coming to Amazon App Store and Google Play Store in “the coming months”.