How to Sign Your Child Up for Facebook's New 'Messenger Kids'

Nichole Vega
December 5, 2017

All in all, it sounds like this will be a good app to use if you want to allow your children to communicate with friends and family from their smart device without exposing them to the whole of Facebook.

Facebook rolled out Monday a version of its popular Messenger app for kids under 13.

The Internet can be a scary, unsafe place for children, even when parents go to great lengths to control what content, videos, apps and games their offsprings are allowed to access on specially designed tablets and wearable devices. Under current company rules, children under 13 can't be on Facebook, though many of them are. Messenger Kids is designed as a legal way for kids to participate. 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's working late to say hi, Messenger Kids opens up a new world of online communication to families. It will require them to download the app and create a Messenger Kids account while using their Facebook account for authentication.

Facebook is about to launch a standalone Messenger application just for kids.

To ensure that the app does not meddle in any controversy, consent of a parent is important before registering for the app or adding new contacts. Facebook also cites an external study from Dubit, which found 93 percent of 6-12 year olds in the United States have access to tablets or smartphones, with many of them owning a device of their own.

"Kids as young as 10 years old easily get 300 text messages a day from social media interactions; this is too stressful". The app gives parents control over how long their kids can use the app. The app is created to be compliant with the Children's Online Privacy and Protection Act (COPPA).

There are no adverts or in-app purchases and the social network said the child's information will not be used for advertising purposes.

The Messenger Kids app on an iPad.

The app, which is rolling out as a preview to iOS with Android coming later, is only available in the USA for the timebeing.

Facebook has also built special detection tools to detect abusive content on the platform. The app is launching for iPhone immediately, but will eventually come to Android and Amazon Fire devices. According to one USA Today report, "It's a grown-up problem for Facebook which needs young users to develop the habit of checking Facebook so it can show them ads well into adulthood". The social network also is looking at building controls around how much time a child can spend on the app.

Once Messenger Kids has been set up, your child can make video calls and send messages to any of the contacts you've approved.

Other reports by AllAboutTopnews

Discuss This Article

FOLLOW OUR NEWSPAPER