How Facebook’s Communication App Has Kept Kids in Mind

Facebook certainly is the largest social network.

But, with so many opportunities it does brings the ugly side the web to us. This concern becomes severe when we have younger kids and teenagers spending time on the platform.

It’s a task to keep the kids off - screens and Facebook happens to be their best pick to get in touch with their friends. Like most people, I also feel that under the watch of parents it’s easier to help kids guide with the right usage of the platform or at least save them if things turn out to be ugly.

Lately, the latest addition by Facebook has been in the talks. It’s the Messenger Kids, Facebook’s new offering for the 13-year olds or below!

This addition has enabled the parents to take charge of their kids’ online activities as the app comes with parental controls. With this messenger children are being able to chat and call their friends & family safely and under the watch of their parents.

The company highlighted that after talking to thousands of parents, associations like National PTA, and parenting experts in the US, Facebook found the need for a “messaging app that lets kids connect with people they love but also has the level of control parents want”.

Facebook states,

“Parents fully control the contact list and kids can’t connect with contacts that their parent does not approve of. Parents control kids accounts and contacts through the Messenger Kids Controls panel in their main Facebook app.”

 fb-messenger-kids

The image shows how easy it is to get started with the platform.

Even a new chat request by a non-approved contact needs to be vetted by the parent. Parents are also able to control their child’s Messenger Kids app through their Facebook accounts.

Also, in its introductory blog post, Facebook stated,

“There are no ads in Messenger Kids and your child’s information isn’t used for ads. It is free to download and there are no in-app purchases. Messenger Kids is also designed to be compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA).”

Parents fully control the contact list and decide who can connect with their children. Messages don't disappear and can't be hidden in case parents would like to check in.

The following pointers highlights the control parents have:

  • Parents approve every contact, so kids can chat in a safer, more controlled environment.
  • Parents can remove any contact at any time
  • Parents can use sleep mode to set times when their child cannot use the app.
  • Messages don't disappear and can't be hidden in case parents would like to check in.
  • There are no ads or in-app purchases which implies deduction in the unnecessary exposure to kids.

Other than these the app does come with some cool features to entertain kids like:

  • Kid-appropriate stickers, GIFs, frames and emoticons help kids creatively express themselves.
  • One-on-one or group video calls come to life with fun, interactive masks.
  • The feature-filled camera lets kids create videos and decorate photos to share with loved ones.

With all the features and parental control, the launch definitely has caught some serious attention! But the need still remains undetermined as do kids this young really need a social media app to be connected with their parents or friends virtually?

Considering the state of online world and the harm that it can and has caused to youngsters, it remains a dilemma as to expose kids to online world so early or not?

But on the brighter side, the parental control is a sigh of relief for worried parents of youngsters who are a part of the online world. What is your opinion on this?

About the Author
Author: Priyanka Gupta
Priyanka is a blogger by profession and has an increasing interest to write about the edtech space. While writing she keeps in mind the educators to come up with right resources and ideas which might be relevant for them in relation to effective use of technology in their profession and institutions/classrooms.
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