Facebook has rolled out Messenger Kids app in the US. The standalone app, designed for children aged six to 12, can be controlled from a parent’s Facebook account. The preview of Messenger Kid is currently available on the Apple App Store. It will be unveiled on Amazon App Store and Google Play Store in the coming months.
“Today, in the US, we’re rolling out a preview of Messenger Kids, a new app that makes it easier for kids to safely video chat and message with family and friends when they can’t be together in person,” said Loren Cheng, product management director in a company blog post.
Facebook says that Messenger Kids has been designed to be compliant with the Children’s Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA). The app is free to download, and there are no ads in Messenger Kids. It does not use a child’s information for ads, insists Facebook.
Facebook Messenger Kids account needs to be setup by parents, who approve of contacts their child can talk to. This means that a child cannot connect with people who have not been approved by parents. Kids can start a group or one-on-one video chat; or send videos, photos, text messages to contacts approved by parents. Adults will receive messages from Messenger Kids via their regular Messenger app.
Facebook has added a “library of kid-appropriate and specially chosen GIFs, frames, stickers, masks and drawing tools” to the messenger Kids app. Masks along with emojis will also be a part of the app.
Facebook Messenger Kids can be downloaded for iPad, iPod touch, or iPhone from the App Store. Post downloading the app, parents need to authenticate their child’s device using their own Facebook username and password. Notably, doing so won’t give access of parents’ Facebook account to their kids.
Parents can finish the setup process by providing a name for their child to create their account. To add contacts, parents can head over to Messenger Kids parental controls panel in their main Facebook app and click on ‘More’ on the bottom right corner. Next, tap on ‘Messenger Kids’ in the Explore section.