Updated: Oct 13, 2020
Today, Facebook released Messenger Kids, a new app that makes it easier for kids to safely video chat and message with family and friends. Working with thousands of parents, non-profits like LGBT Technology Partnership & Institute (LGBT Tech), and parenting experts in the US, Facebook found there was a demand for a messaging app that let kids connect with important family and friends but with a level of control that parents want.
To give kids and parents a fun, safer solution, Facebook built Messenger Kids as a standalone app that lives on kids’ tablets or smartphones but can be controlled from a parent’s Facebook account. Whether it’s using video chat to talk to grandparents, staying in touch with cousins who live far away, or sending mom a decorated photo while she is working late, Messenger Kids opens up a new world of online communication to families. This preview is available on the App Store for iPad, iPod touch, and iPhone.
We feel it is important to note, Facebook has made it clear that Messenger Kids is an ad-free app and the information is not used for ads in any way. Messenger Kids is also designed to be compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA).
LGBT Tech is continuing to explore the new app launched by Facebook and make sure all LGBTQ youth, parents and community leaders have the opportunity to highlight insight about the app.
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Additional Features and Download Information:
Once their account is set up by a parent, kids can start a one-on-one or group video chat with parent-approved contacts. The home screen shows them at a glance whom they are approved to talk to, and when those contacts are online.
In addition to video chat, kids can send photos, videos or text messages to their parent-approved friends and adult relatives, who will receive the messages via their regular Messenger app. A library of kid-appropriate and specially chosen GIFs, frames, stickers, masks and drawing tools let them decorate content and express their personalities.
Messenger Kids gives parents more control. Parents fully control the contact list, and kids can't connect with contacts that their parent does not approve. Parents control kids accounts and contacts through the Messenger Kids Controls panel in their main Facebook app:
How to Get Started
Every child account for Messenger Kids must be set up by a parent. For parents, setting your child up with a Messenger Kids account is done in four steps:
Download: First, download the Messenger Kids app on your child’s iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone from the App Store.
Authenticate: Then, 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: Finish the setup process by creating an account for your child, where all you’ll need to do is provide their name. Then the device can be handed over to the child so they can start chatting with the family and friends you approve.
Add contacts: To add people to your child’s approved contact list, 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, and click “Messenger Kids” in the Explore section.
For more specific information about the app, visit messengerkids.com.