Family life

Facebook Messenger Kids is here—but read this before downloading it

The new app offers kids a safe and secure way to connect with family and friends while giving parents total control.

Facebook Messenger Kids is here—but read this before downloading it

Facebook is launching a new version of their Messenger app created specifically with kids in mind. Appropriately called Messenger Kids, the free messaging and video calling app is designed for kids ages six to 12 and can be used on both iOS and Android devices. But how does it work? And is it actually safe for kids? We've got the answers to all your questions.

How does Facebook Messenger Kids work?

The app does not require kids to have their own Facebook account. Messenger Kids is connected to a parent's Facebook account. Just download the app and set up your kid's profile through your personal Facebook account. You can create more than one profile for siblings too on one parent's Facebook account. Unlike other social media platforms, Messenger Kids offers a safer environment for kids by giving them zero access to approving and requesting contacts in the app. Kids can only chat with parent-approved contacts, which you can set up for them through your personal account.

Why will my kid love it?

The app gives kids the freedom to video-call one-on-one, send messages, videos, photos and chat with a cousin, grandparent or friend in another city by logging in on their device without having to ask Mom or Dad for help.

The app also includes tons of kid-friendly GIFs and stickers, games and masks (think Snapchat filters) and drawing tools. Why call Grandma with your own face when your can video chat as a pirate?

How do you add contacts?

You can access your kid's profile by tapping on Messenger Kids which will appear in the Bookmarks section (or Explore section on desktop) on your Facebook account. You can add Grandpa or an aunt from your existing friends list or select "Kids of Your Friends" to have the parent of your child's friend connect them together through parental approval on both ends. Don't worry, you don't have to be Facebook friends with your kid's friend's parents to do this. Parents can also approve requests and block accounts.

What safety features does Facebook Messenger Kids have?

Sleep mode allows parents to set up a time period every day where the app shuts down for a few hours while kids are sleeping or doing homework. During these hours, kids won’t be able to log in and chat and the app will not send push notifications. But don’t worry kids will get a countdown warning to finish their chats before the app goes to sleep—no tantrums here! Also, unlike apps like Snapchat, your child's messages don't disappear and cannot be hidden incase parents need to take a look. Plus, the app does not collect any data from your child and it's completely separate from Facebook, meaning your child's private conversations won't be used in advertising to you on your own account. There are also no ads in the apps and no in-app purchases.

Let's face it, kids are going to want to get on social media, and you may as well have some control. So get ready to download and chat on June 22!

This article was originally published on Jun 22, 2018

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